Ernst's interest in contemporary genre subjects developed into a predilection for depicting scenes of Muslim religious study in his later Orientalist pictures. In Lessons of the Koran we are presented with a scene in which three young men are being tutored in the Koran. The subject of the study of learned texts was a popular one for Orientalist artists and in his presentation Ernst goes beyond the simple recording of an eastern curio to show the universality of the rigors of study. Ernst adeptly captures the moment with an almost photographic eye. While the elder tutor lectures with authority, the boys are shown in varying stages of attentiveness; one of the youths follows along on his tablet while another is shown daydreaming. The sense of realism is furthered not only through the poses of the figures but also by the careful rendering of the setting in which they are placed. Ernst was the son of the highly regarded architectural painter Leopold Ernst, and the lessons learned from his father are apparent in Lessons of the Koran in which great attention is paid to the rendering of the architectural structure and materials used in its construction. The picture also shows Ernst's mastery in depicting chromatic nuances. The gilt detailing of the stucco walls and the mother-of-pearl inlay work of the stand illustrate the artist's ability to portray the opulence of imperial interiors even within the context of a simple genre scene.