The Reader is an exceptional example of the work of Giuseppe Barison, an artist born in Trieste to a family of modest means. Barison found a patron in the aristocratic Anna De Rin, who placed him in apprenticeship in private studios and then enrolled him in the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. In 1872, Barison began to take lessons from the Nazarene painters Karl von Blaas and Eduard Von Engerth. He returned to Trieste in 1876 and later participated in the Esposizione di Belle Arti with a canvas depicting Isabella Orsini, which earned him a two-year scholarship in Rome. After Rome, he spent some years in Venice. Barison spent World War I in the home of Roberto Amadi in Pegli, Liguria. After the war he returned to Trieste, and along with contemporaries Guido Grimani and Ugo Flumiani he continued to paint landscapes, often en plein air.