Granet, who was from a modest family, trained under the painter Constantin d’Aix at the Académie des Beaux-Arts of Aix-en-Provence and then in Paris under Jacques-Louis DAVID. He lived for a time at the Capuchin convent alongside the painters GIRODET and INGRES and in this peaceful and mysterious place he developed his love for painting architecture, cloisters and chapels, which became a specialization for him. Nicknamed « the Monk » by his friends, full of mysticism, he defined himself as a « Christian » painter.
In 1802, he went to Italy (where he stayed until 1824) and created many depictions of Rome and its surroundings in strange and sometimes romantic visions.
In this painting, created around 1820, his love of depicting architecture, placing a monk immersed in a book in one of the deserted corridors of the Coliseum, is evident. It is both the evocation of a place and also of a man that was to be connected to a deep fondness for that country for the rest of his life.