While on a visit to Crawford's Roman studio in 1842, Henry Hicks of New York commissioned a piece of sculpture, leaving the subject entirely to the sculptor. Crawford's choice of a youthful dancer was almost certain to please his new patron, for images of children were popular in nineteenth-century art. Most likely inspired by a copy of the Hellenistic sculpture "Dancing Faun," Crawford completed this work in marble in Rome in 1843. He described this "statue of Youth" as "a boy of seven or eight years, dancing in great glee, and tinkling a pair of cymbals, the music of which seems to amuse him exceedingly. The sentiment is joyousness throughout. It is evident no thought of the future troubles his young mind: and he may consider himself very fortunate in being made of marble; for thus his youth remains without change." Crawford first exhibited "Genius of Mirth" at the National Academy of Design in New York in 1844. Hicks must have been satisfied with Crawford's production, for he subsequently purchased from him a second sculpture, "Mexican Girl Dying," also in the Metropolitan's collection (97.13.2a-e).