Fabre trained under Jacques-Louis David to whom he owed a life-long debt. In 1787 he won the first prize for painting at the French Academy in Rome for his Death of Sedecias's Children, and further acclaim in 1791 for the Death of Abel. Although he moved from Rome in 1792, spending a year in Naples, before settling in Florence in 1793, Fabre continued through this period to exhibit at the Paris Salon, and received a pension from King Louis XVI. His fame as a history painter was equalled by his repute as a portraitist, and a number of his best portraits were executed for foreign tourists visiting Italy. In the present work, the portrait formula with which Fabre found such success is applied to an Academic study. The concentration on the face of the boy depicted in mythological guise, the simplicity of the staging (half-length behind and within a frame), and the sensual and sensitively handled flesh all recall in broad terms Fabre's portrait commissions from circa 1790. Towards the end of his life Fabre returned to Paris where he was awarded the Legion of Honor and made a Baron by Charles X.