The small format of this painting suggests that it could have been an abbozzo, kept in the studio for use by Panini and his workshop to create larger versions. Ferdinando Arisi (op. cit.) identified the subject as Belisarius begging for Alms, the source of many paintings concerned with themes of Injustice and Charity. According to legend, Justinian ordered Belisarius to be blinded, forcing him to become a homeless beggar near the Porta Pinciana in Rome, where he was then recognised by one of his former soldiers.
We are grateful to Professor David R. Marshall for confirming the attribution on the basis of photographs and proposing a date to the mid-late 1750s.