In 1773, Girodet became a pupil of Luquin, a teacher of drawing at Montargis. The following year he was sent by his father to Paris to live with a family friend, Dr. Trioson, and soon after entered Jacques-Louis David's atelier. In 1789 he came first in the grand prix du concours de Rome and two years later, under the direction of the architect Percier, he was commissioned by Napoleon to paint L'Apothéose des héros français morts pour la patrie for Malmaison. In 1806, after the death of his own son, Dr. Trioson formally adopted Girodet, and from this period, he signed his work 'A.G.T'. In 1815, he was made a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts. Between 1798 and 1824, Girodet exhibited several portraits at the Salon. Girodet's correspondence, published by Coupin in 1829, underlined how the artist considered portraiture to be the most important of the genres.
This picture, exhibited at the Musée de Goya, Castres, where it was incorrectly described as a portrait of Chateaubriand, is likely to depict a pupil of the artist, although it is not possible to be certain which one, despite Alexandre Colin's 1817 lithograph of Girodet's atelier.
We are grateful to Sylvain Bellenger for confirming the attribution and for his assistance in this catalogue entry, having examined the picture in the original. picture.