The career of Turpin de Crissé was marked by the patrons who sponsored him, beginning with the Comte de Choiseul-Gouffier who sent him on his first travels through Europe. He returned to Paris as the protégé of Queen Hortense and was later favored by Empress Josephine until the Restoration in 1814. He became Inspecteur des Beaux Arts under Louis XVIII in 1824 and a Membre de la Chambre du Roi in 1829.
It is not far-fetched to assume Turpin de Crissé was also favored by the duchess de Berry (as suggested by her stamp on the back of the present painting), eldest daughter of Francis I, King of Naples, and married to Charles Ferdinand Bourbon, duc de Berry, son of King Charles X. After the Revolution of 1830, she followed the exiled Charles X to England and upon returning to France in 1832 ran into trouble with the current anti-monarchist government. She ultimately settled in her native city of Palermo where she was known as an important and generous patron of artists painting the sunny environs of Naples and Sicily.
The landscapes of Turpin de Crissé were highly prized in his own lifetime, marked by his flair for decorative composition combined with an external, serene atmosphere. Specifically, landscapes with Temples were his speciality such as The Acropolis, Athens (Anon. Sale, Sotheby's, New York, 12 February 1998, lot 5, $486,500), View of the Temple of Minerva in Athens (Anon. Sale, Sotheby's, London, 25 November 1981, lot 7, £39,600), and The Column of Alexandria (ex-collection Louis-Philippe). The present composition exemplifies the two stylistic trends that co-existed in the early part of the 19th century and are so often present in the works of Turpin the Crissé. The strictly ordered composition is neoclassical and dates back to that earlier French tradition inherited from Poussin, while the subtle examination of light effects and the juxtaposition of the vast monument with small figures is a characteristic of the Romanticism movement.