The drawing relates to the child-portrait at the extreme right of the picture La Prdication de Saint Augustin devant l'Empereur Valerius, in the Church of Notre-Dame-des Victoires, Paris, M.-C. Sahut, Carle Vanloo, exhib. cat, Muse Chret, Nice, 1977, no. 152, illustrated.
The picture was painted along with a pendant of Le Baptme de Saint Augustin in 1755 and exhibited at the Salon the same year. In these paintings Carle Vanloo incorporated portraits of himself and his family: the Baptme includes a self-portait holding a book and the group on the right of the Prdication is Vanloo's wife and his two younger sons. His elder son is represented in the foreground of the latter composition.
In painting his family Vanloo went against the wishes of his patron, Father Flix, who especially requested that none but himself should depicted. When Father Flix noticed that in the Prdication Vanloo had also painted Father Damien he had him taken off saying: 'Je suis trs fach que, contre votre promesse de ne mettre que moi en portrait dans vos tableaux, vous y ayez plac tenant la croix, trait pour trait, le frre Damien', M.-C. Sahut, op. cit., p. 64. Flix did not notice that in the Prdication he was in fact surrounded by the whole of Vanloo's family.
The boy, aged twelve in the drawing, was depicted probably eight year's earlier in another drawing, M.-C. Sahut, op. cit., nos. 403.