Mihailo III (1823-69) was the ruler of Serbian twice: 1839–42 and 1860–68. During his exile (1842–59), he travelled throughout Europe, enriched his education and maintained close relations with the Serbian intellectual elite, whom he often supported financially. After his return to Serbia, under the influence of his wife, Princess Julija (Júlia), he strove to foster the development of culture and education. He wished to transform Belgrade into a capital similar to capitals of other European countries.
In this ceremonial portrait, the Prince is shown as an enlightened European monarch, fully dedicated to the Serbian people and the idea of Europeanization. The details of his dress, decorations and arms were carefully chosen with the idea of depicting him as a people's ruler who respected tradition while striving to transform Serbia into a modern European state.