The present work is a study for an important early composition of Bouguereau, Sainte Famille. Bouguereau submitted this painting to both the Salon of 1863 (no. 226) and to the Exposition Universelle of 1867 (no. 73). The work was finally purchased by Empress Eugénie de Montijo, the wife of Napoleon III. The present study is particularly noteworthy, because, although the positioning of the Virgin is not the same as it is in the final version, the coloration of the work is identical to the final work.
Damien Bartoli has confirmed the authenticity of the present work.