A pupil of Jean Nicolas Huyot, Hector Lefuel won the Grand Prix de Rome in 1839. One year later, he produced a list of the Renaissance buildings that he could go and admire in the Italian capital and in Tuscany. Although, in his time, the work of the students at the French Academy in Rome was always restricted to the architecture of Antiquity, they nevertheless did not ignore the models of modern Rome, which the previous generation, notably Charles Percier (1764-1838) and Pierre François Léonard Fontaine (1762-1853), had shown to be relevant. The buildings of the great Italian Renaissance architects, seen as an integration of the principles of classical Roman architecture, appeared more familiar and accessible.
Here, the technique of watercolour and wash particularly enhances the proportions of the decorative elements (mouldings and cornices) and the pink shades of the stones. Later, the architect applied his knowledge of the Italian Renaissance to several sections of the Louvre for which he was responsible.