The son of a watchmaker from Sonderborg, Lorentzen arrived in Copenhagen around 1771 where he frequented the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. From 1779 to 1782 he travelled in Europe to develop his skills, visiting the Netherlands, Antwerp and Paris where he copied the old masters. In 1792 he traveled to Norway to paint prospects, but it was in the fields of portraiture and history painting that he was to make his name. In a number of paintings, such as Slaget på Reden (1801, Danish Museum of National History) and Den rædsomste nat (1807, Danish National Gallery), he documented key events from the English Wars between 1801 and 1814. At the same time he undertook commissions to depict a number of aristocrats and wealthy professionals, such as the portrait presented here.
As a professor at the Royal Academy in Copenhagen from 1803 until his death in 1828, he exercised great influence on the next generation of Danish painters such as Martinus Rørbye amongst others. Examples of his work can been seen in Denmark in the Royal Collections at Rosenborg and Frederiksborg