As the hardiest common support for paintings, canvas was considered preferable to panel in the nineteenth century, and the procedure of a panel-to-canvas transfer was practised throughout Europe when it was thought to help ensure the longevity of a valued work of art. In Saint Petersburg the procedure was prescribed to a great number of pictures in the Imperial Hermitage and other collections, out of fear that the extremities of the local climate would lead to the rapid degradation of panel supports. Almost miraculously, the conservators of the Hermitage were able to develop a technique for such transfers which has produced some of its best historic results - a blessing given the frequency of its application in Russia.
The present work was transferred by Feodor Rybin (d. 1845), one of the best pupils in his year in the Imperial Academy of Arts, Saint Petersburg, who joined the staff of the Hermitage on 9 March 1819 as one of four recruits to be trained by the celebrated Hermitage restorer Andrei Filippovich Mitrokhin (1765/6-1845). Rybin succeeded Mitrokhin as chief restorer in the year of his untimely death, 1845.