Pierre Guérin had a brilliant career as a historical painter. Admitted to the school of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture at the age of eleven, he studied with Taraval, Brenet, and then J.-B. Régnault.
He achieved his first major success at the 1799 Salon with The Return of Marcus Sextus (Paris, Musée du Louvre), which received an enthusiastic response. After traveling to Italy (December 1803-November 1805), he devoted himself almost entirely, with the exception of a few private commissions, to depicting his passion for subjects borrowed from antiquity and the theater.
In 1819, he opened a studio, joined by Géricault, Ary Scheffer, Léon Cogniet, Paul Huet, Delacroix, and others.