Vicente March y Marco trained at the prestigious Escuela de San Carlos in his native city of Valencia, a star pupil of Francisco Domingo. The seaside town of Valencia has always had a rich artistic tradition and is perhaps best known as the birthplace of Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida.
It was common for many Spanish painters to seek more than local recognition, and this desire for international exposure prompted them to set up temporary or permanent residence in one of the European art capitals, usually Paris or Rome. In the 1880s March moved to Rome to join the already burgeoning Spanish colony of artists taking up residence with Vicente Poveda, Pedro Serrano and Gabriel Puig Roda in an apartment in Via Margutta. He took classes at the local Accademia Chigi. March's sojourn in Rome was enlightening, as exposure to other artists prompted him to explore a variety of different genres. Already well versed in scenes of rustic life among country peasants, he was also strongly influenced by Jose Villégas Cordero. Some of his works took on a distinct Moorish or Orientalist flavour, while others remained focussed on the more 18th Century 'fancy costume' works of his mentor Francisco Domingo Segura.
March returned to Spain and settled in Valencia where he focussed on more regional, rustic scenes of everyday life. While his Roman sojourn helped March develop a wider repertory of subjects, he remains best known for his sincere and often comic interpretations of local people. Executed in Valencia, this delightful painting depicts a rambling backstage studio with circus entertainers- clowns and actors who are part of a travelling Saltimbanque troupe at rest. Particularly wonderful passages include the clown who is precariously balanced on the pile of theatre props, suitcases and instruments. To the left, a dog is in the midst of a trick with his trainer while another performer rummages through a suitcase.