This study, reminiscent of Antoine Coypel's use of three chalks on grey-blue paper, was etched in reverse by Forain in 1909. Forain also executed a transfer lithograph after the present drawing, of which twenty-five impressions were made, A. Gaig-Faxon, Jean-Louis Forain, A Catalogue Raisonn of the Prints, New York, 1982, nos. 88 and 270, both illustrated.
From 1902, Forain experienced a spiritual crisis. Along with his friend, the writer Huysmans, who became a secular priest, Forain experienced in his work his revived faith. He produced an acclaimed series of seventy dry-point etchings, of which the present composition was one. Critics rated them equal to Rembrandt's prints, and the English scholar, Campbell Dodgson, thought that Forain was one of the world's greatest etchers. To Forain, however, it was more important to be a successful painter. The present composition, which he never turned into a picture, lingered however sufficiently in his mind to encourage him to produce a watercolour, now in the Whitworth Institute, Manchester.