Preller's light and fine handling of the graphite medium and his propensity for reinforced contour lines are typical of the strict Classicism prevalent in Weimar, his hometown. There he came into contact early on with Goethe, who advised him to study the works of the old masters--notably Nicolas Poussin--in nearby Dresden. Preller then completed his training in Rome. This sheet of studies dates from his second stay in the Eternal City. Despite his many travels and his exposure to Romanticism, Preller never succeeded in breaking free from Classicism.