Traversi received his initial training in the workshop of Solimena. His earlier works show the influence of Roman painting, particularly of Maratta, while at the same time Traversi combined a form of Caravaggesque realism with the neo-baroque qualities of the mature Solimena.
Traversi probably began to experiment with portraiture and genre scenes following the notable success of Giuseppe Bonito. Like the latter, Traversi’s subject matter was often taken from the lives of ordinary people and the bourgeoisie. By 1752 Traversi was working in Rome where he would spend the remainder of his life living in Trastevere and executing works for the Carmelites of S. Girosogono.
The painter’s popular genre scenes for private patrons include subjects such as the Engagement, the First Dance, the Embroidery Class, the Five Senses, Card Games and Musical Parties. All were painted with considerable attention to details of dress and furnishings, and thus provide an important record of contemporary life in Rome and Naples.