After 1740, Ghezzi stopped competing for important commissions and concentrated on book illustrations. His many caricatures were destined to form an imposing gallery of portraits of the celebrities of his day, under the title Mondo nuovo. Many of these drawings were bound in folio albums which entered the collection of Pope Benedict XIV and were dispersed at his sale in 1747.
Gaetano Caffarelli (1710-1783) was a mezzo-soprano castrato, who made his career mostly in Naples. He also travelled to Madrid, London and Paris to great acclaim. In 1735 he was in Rome, when the present drawing may have been executed. On retiring from the stage in 1763 he bought a Dukedom in Calabria, and built a palace in Naples, where he had the words 'Amphion Thebas, ego domum' inscribed over the entrance, to which was added surreptitiously the graffito 'ille cum, sine tu'.