Eugen von Blaas was born into a family of accomplished artists. His father, Karl, was a renowned portrait, history and fresco painter as well as a sculptor, and he was a professor at the Venice Academy of Fine Art. Eugen's brother, Julius, also an artist, specialized in military scenes and became a professor at the Accademia in Rome. The family had its roots in Austria, but both Eugen and his brother were born in Rome and the family later moved to Venice. Eugen received his early artistic education in Rome and he too became a professor at the Accademia. During his lifetime, his paintings were well-received in Great Britain and he exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy, the Grafton Gallery and the New Gallery between 1875 and 1892.
Von Blaas was best known and most loved for his images of Venetian women. His women are striking in their youth and unadorned beauty and they are depicted with a high degree of finish which demonstrates the artist's unique abilities as both draftsman and painter. The realism in the work of von Blaas is almost photographic and it is clearly the artist's intent to show these women going about their daily routines oblivious of their own beauty and that of their surroundings. The artist’s paintings also reflect the tenderness and affinity he felt for the ordinary folk who inspired his work. In the context of such sentiments, Venice was the ideal environment for his work; due to its wealth in architectural and artistic inheritance together with an inability to expand, the city remained relatively unaffected by the fast-paced changes brought about by the Industrial Revolution. This time capsule allowed von Blaas to paint idyllic common folk without being consumed by a sense of melancholic nostalgia.
Like many of the artist's genre scenes, A Moment of Rest creates a sense of an ongoing narrative. Through the use of a distinctly Italianate setting and the detailed, beautifully colored costumes of his figures, von Blaas is able to create a rich contextual setting for the viewer. Yet while these details, coupled with the artist's tight figural composition, set the scene, it is the postures, lively gestures, facial expressions and the delicate emotive language which fully animate the world that von Blaas has created. In this scene, two young women take a moment’s rest from their chores, one seated and thoughtful, the other standing and stretching with her hands behind her head. Von Blaas has taken a posture that could denote exhaustion and pain, and has turned it instead into a languid movement accenting the figures youth and femininity. Their basket of laundry sits off to the side beneath the freshly hung linens, all dappled in sunlight. Von Blaas encourages the viewer to formulate and project their own narrative onto this simple exchange frozen in time.