Apparently a preliminary idea for a painting now in the Château d'Aulteribe in Sermentizon, Puy-de-Dôme, France (J. Foucart, ed., Le siècle de Rubens dans les collections publiques françaises, exhib. cat., Paris, Grand Palais, 1977-8, no. 106). That picture expands the composition of the present drawing, adding a staircase on the right from which Solomon watches the ritual. There is also an important change of subject between picture and drawing, which suggests that Quellinus's first intended idea was in fact to show the idolatry of Solomon. Whereas the painting shows worship directed towards the Ark of the Covenant, this preparatory drawing shows the sacrifice being made to an idol, which Quellinus has represented in the form of the Roman god Mars.
The present work is heavily influenced both in style and composition by the works of Rubens, with whom the artist's father Erasmus Quellinus the Younger (1607-1678) had worked as an assistant. Jan Erasmus complemented his rich Rubensian heritage with a trip to Italy in 1660, during which he visited Venice, Naples, Florence and Rome, drawing particularly on the Venetian tradition embodied by painters such as Veronese.