This drawing, a copy after a fresco from Raphael's studio in the Stanza della Segnatura in the Vatican, was originally part of David's Roman albums. Back from his long sojourn in Italy, David regrouped the drawings he had made there - mostly copies after the antique and the Masters - in two albums organized thematically (for the history and reconsctruction of the Roman albums, see Rosenberg and Prat, op. cit., I, pp. 391-406 and II, pp. 779-83). This drawing, was, for example, on page 105, in a section devoted to drawings of groups of figures. David used the albums during all his career as a source of inspiration. At David's death, his sons Jules and Eugène signed with their monograms each of the drawings and decided, undoubtedly for commercial reasons, to dismember the original albums and to reorganize all the pages in twelve new albums where the thematical order was broken. The present drawing ended up on page 2 of Album 10, which was itself dismembered in the 1950's.
On the verso, David has made a larger a study, with a few differences, of the figure of Alexander from the composition copied on the recto. The artist later used it with differences (most importantly in the position of the head) for the figure of Alexander in his drawing of 1779, Alexander at the deathbed of the wife of Darius, now in the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris (Rosenberg and Prat, op. cit, no. 30).