In France and other Western countries, the middle of the 19th century was distinguished by a new religious sensibility.
The Church encouraged this by encouraging the celebration of religious feast days.
In France, the celebration of Corpus Christi (known as la Fête-Dieu) was particularly encouraged. One of the centre pieces of the festival was a procession of the Blessed Sacrament on a carpet of petals placed down by children.
Until 1845 paintings of Alexandre Antigna were generally religious scenes and portraits. Then paintings of the urban poor also became his subjects. He was a pupil of Paul Delaroche
By the 1848 Revolution Antigna was devoted to the Realist style, and continued to paint in this manner until1860 when he began to produce paintings in the Naturalist style.