Ferdinand Bol received his initial training in Dordrecht from the painter Jacob Gerritsz Cuyp. At the age of twenty, he left for Amsterdam to study in Rembrandt’s workshop. By 1642, he had become an independent painter, although his compositions still reflected the profound influence of his master. After 1650, his history paintings were popular for their classicizing and elaborate style. His portraits also followed prevailing trends, influenced by the manner of van Dyck, and depict subjects against a landscape background, or seated in three-quarter length view in an elegant interior. In addition to history paintings and portraits, Bol often painted tronies, or character heads such as our picture, throughout his career. His vibrant, carefully rendered studies depict men in berets in the custom of Rembrandt.