The artist, Edwin Austin Abbey (1852-1911) was a Philadelphia illustrator before he moved to England and became involved with the pre-Raphaelite Movement. Famous as a muralist, he received a commission in 1902 to paint murals for the Pennsylvania House and Senate Chambers and the Rotunda.
This study, completed 1904-1908, was for "The Spirit of Vulcan," a mural praising Pennsylvania industry.
Abbey was a friend of gay artist John Singer Sargent, who drew this portrait, and didn't marry until he was in his 40s. Those facts would ordinarily set off my gaydar, except:
There is no other beefcake in Abbey's work, not a single bicep or chest anywhere.
Why he wait until his life was nearly over to express his joy in the male form?