The subject of each panel is painted inside a circle which is surrounded by Roman numerals, indicating the hours of a clock.
The first painting represents the story of Archimedes and King Hieron of Syracuse. Plutarch describes how Archimedes constructed a machine which enabled him to effortlessly pull ships on land. Here a child is shown turning the handle to demonstrate just how easily it can be done. The second painting depicts the death of Archimedes, who defends a mathematical equation during the siege of Syracuse, while a soldier of Marcellus is about to strike him down.
Stylistically, both paintings belong to the beginning of the eighteenth century. The attribution to Vaccaro was first suggested by Mr. Ian Kennedy (private communiaction with Julius Held, 18 June 1981).