A master of genre painting, Greuze also turned his talents to painting children. In this portrait, he conveys a powerful and honest vision of childhood.
The bust format, elegant attire and psychological depth of the painting are of course taken from portraits of adults. Greuze was nonetheless able to convey faithfully the particularities of childhood. The boy's face, with its soft skin, big wistful eyes and delicate pout, is surrounded by thick curly hair. This attention to both the young model's appearance and state of mind echoes the philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who believed that educating and showing children affection encouraged their development in adulthood.