Known as Popo in his childhood, Pavel Alexandrovich Stroganov (1772-1817) sat for this portrait during a family visit to Paris. Popo later took part in the French Revolution, and became a diplomat and hero during the war of 1812. Only six years old at the time of the sitting, young Stroganov's character and strength are readily apparent.
Greuze's talent for portraiture is seen very clearly here, without the frills and frous of extraneous symbolism. The artist took a penetrating look at a child and then managed to show the man he would become. It is no wonder this piece was very popular and a great number of copies were made.