José Giulio Souza Pinto was born on the Portuguese island of Terceira in the Azores in 1855. The latter part of the nineteenth century saw a particularly active period for Portuguese painting. Inspired by the modern artistic sensibilities that were being explored by other European painters, many Portuguese artists ventured abroad to study. After receiving a first prize in painting at the Escola de Belas-Artes do Porto, Souza Pinto went to Paris in 1880. There he worked in the studios of Cabanel, Dagnan-Bouveret and Bastien-Lepage. His first entry to the Salon in 1833 received an honorable mention and in 1889 he was awarded a gold medal. His successes there earned him the titles: officer, member of the jury and, ultimately, hors concours which allowed him to send works directly to the Salon. In 1895 he was decorated as a chevalier of the Légion d'honneur. Souza Pinto was equally celebrated in his homeland and was a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts de Lisbonne and a Commandeur de Santiago. He became associated with a group of compatriots called the Grupo de Leão who were committed to naturalism in their work. Other members of the Grupo de Leão: Silva Porto, Columbano, Malhoa, Marques de Oliveira, Jao Vaz also saw their works internationally exhibited.
Souza Pinto was greatly inspired by the countryside of France and his works portrayed the life of the peasants of his adoptive country. He drew inspiration from the work of the French artist Jules Breton whose interest in "realism" supported Souza Pinto's own interest in the truthful recording of his surroundings. The naturalistic pose of the young boy and the subtle play of light as it filters through the foliage and reflects on the water in Boy Fishing along a quiet Stream intimates that the scene was taken from direct observation. The boy seems unaware of our intrusion and is absorbed in his task. Painted in 1899, during the Industrial Revolution, the picture can be seen as an evocation of a simpler, more pastoral time.