Jakob Matthias Schmutzer trained first in Vienna and later in Paris with Johann Georg Wille. The drawing technique used with the sanguine pencil, also known as the brown pencil, is likely to have been taken over directly from Wille by Schmutzer. The latter was friends with Jean-Baptiste Greuze, who was eight years his senior, and who in turn may have inspired Schmutzer to paint this genre. More than a real portrait, these drawings, which were executed in large numbers by Schmutzer, are expression studies of the kind taught in France following Charles Le Brun and his theoretical treatise Conférence sur l'expression génerale et particulière published in 1698. The disciplined drawing technique is reminiscent of the methodology of copperplate engraving - Schmutzer had already been trained as a copperplate engraver in his early days in Vienna.