Gaetano Gandolfi’s distinctive style was informed by his early artistic training in Bologna and Venice; the resulting technique incorporates the rigor of Bolognese academic instruction with the lively color and fluid handling that he would have encountered in the work of Tiepolo, Ricci and Pittoni. Gandolfi was also aware of developments in French Rococo painting and was acquainted with Jean-Honoré Fragonard.
This copper, probably datable to the last decades of the artist’s life, is typical of Gaetano’s oeuvre and demonstrates his characteristic dynamism, theatrical format, and use of strong colors. The loose brushwork suggests that it may have been conceived as a bozzetto, but no preliminary drawing or larger finished painting of the same composition is recorded. Elements of the composition recur in other known works by Gandolfi, such as the standing angel holding the gold cup, which is repeated in the Lamentation of Christ in the church of Our Lady of Sorrows, Forlì.