On Christmas Eve 1829 Richmond arrived in Paris after spending some time in Calais; he returned to England on 20 May 1830. This drawing was done while he was in Paris, during which time he supported himself by executing portraits as he had done previously in London, while also studying paintings and drawings in the Louvre. The present figure study clearly displays the influence of the late, highly finished drawings of Michelangelo, examples of which he could also have seen in the collections of Sir Thomas Lawrence and King George IV.
In general, the pose is related to that of the Antique statue of Antinous, which Richmond could have known from the version in the Louvre or much nearer home in England (for a drawing after the sculpture see Missing Pages: George Richmond R.A. 1809-1896, exhibition catalogue, London, Agnew's and W.S. Fine Art, October-November 2001, no. 31, pl. XX).
We would like to thank Professor David Ekserdjian for suggesting that the pose of Richmond's figure may also have been influenced by a sheet of studies of the Baptist preaching in a group of drawings by Parmigianino at the British Museum from the Richard Payne Knight Bequest of 1824 (see A.E. Popham, Italian drawings in the British Museum, Artists working in Parma in the Sixteenth Century, London, 1967, I, no. 82, II, pl. 71).