The present work was executed in Switzerland, where Fontanesi lived between 1848 and 1866, at first seeking refuge there following his participation with Garibaldi's forces in Italy's war with Austria.
In 1850, he settled in Geneva, from where he travelled to France, to London and back to Italy. His work of this period is quite different to his later style - calmer and more limpid, with a single-minded focus on the qualities of light and shade, which has a strong echo of the work of Fontanesi's friend, the Swiss artist Alexandre Calame.
The present painting was executed at a key turning point in his career, when Fontanesi travelled to Paris for the 1855 Exposition Universelle in Paris, where he absorbed fully for the first time the lessons of Corot and the Barbizon School. It is one of two paintings of Urirostock painted by Fontanesi (see also M. Bernardi, Milan, 1934, Fontanesi, Tav. I). The artist has focussed on the structural form of the landscape and the clarity of the early morning, which throws up strong reliefs of light and dark.
The present work is sold with a copy of a letter of authenticity by Angelo Dragone, dated 3 March 1991.