The sitter was an important member of the Carracci family of painters. This included Annibale’s brother Agostino (1557–1602) and cousin Ludovico (1555–1619), who was partly responsible for his training. Annibale travelled extensively in northern Italy in the 1580s, studying the work of Correggio in Parma and the work of the great Venetian painters, especially Veronese. In Bologna around 1582 the Carracci family collectively founded the ‘Academy of the Desirous’, the main focus of which was to challenge Mannerist artistic practices and principles. By 1595 Annibale was in Rome where he completed an important commission of mythological frescoes at the Palazzo Farnese. In 1609 Annibale was buried, according to his wish, near Raphael in the Pantheon of Rome.
A miniature after the same work by Annibale Carracci by Henry Pierce Bone was sold Stair Galleries, New York, 25 October 2014, lot 34. R. Walker, 'Henry Bone's Pencil Drawings in the National Portrait Gallery', The Walpole Society, LXI, 1999, p. 353, nos. 601-603, records three further portraits of a man identified on their counter-enamels as self-portraits by Annibale Carracci, which Walker refers to as 'A Man with a pointed beard'. A portrait of 'Annibale Carracci after A. Carracci' by Henry Pierce Bone was exhibited at the Royal Academy, London, 1846, no. 729.