Johann Wilhelm Schirmer was one of the leading Romantic landscape artists of his day. As a professor at the Düsseldorf Academy, he counted Arnold Böcklin, Anselm Feuerbach and Andreas Achenbach among his pupils.
Like so many landscape painters of the time, Schirmer had an extraordinary wanderlust; he painted in Belgium, Switzerland, France and - like other artists from all over Europe - made a pilgrimmage to Italy in 1839/40, when the present work was painted.
Schirmer's style swung between the plein air naturalism of the present work, and a more neo-classical approach. Works executed in the former style are remarkably similar to those of Camille Corot, often carefully annotated with comments on the effects of light and colour. The latter were typical of an ascetic strain in German landscape painting of the period, which revealed both a literary outlook, and the lingering influence of the idealizing paintings of the Nazarenes.
Olevano's dramatic mountain position made the medieval city a popular subject and meeting place for artists of all nationalities, including Corot, Böcklin, Cruelle d'Aligny and Joseph Anton Koch.