Early in his career, William Bouguereau was a young artist dealing with the uncertainty of the quality of his work within the critical Parisian art scene, anxious over the issues of training and his professional ability. Bouguereau had little idea of the immense success that he would achieve and how rapidly it would find him. Later he would have a moment of reflection where he almost began to grasp his future potential:
Today, I am more confident, my heart is open to hope, I have faith in myself. No, the laborious studies I work at are not useless, the road I am following is a good one, and with the help of God, I shall achieve glory, a just and a pure glory.
These initial misgivings about his talent and future were exactly what drove Bouguereau to greater perfection in his work and which established him as one of the leading artists of the academic tradition in the nineteenth century.