This painting was unrecorded until the great 1988 Prague School exhibition at Essen and Vienna, in the catalogue of which it is recorded by Eliska Fucikova as 'among the most attractive and best-preserved works by Hans von Aachen from the period after his return to Central Europe'. Fucikova dates it to c. 1588 by comparison with The Judgement of Paris of that year (Prague, National Gallery; included in the Essen part of the exhibition, no. 89) and suggests that it was executed as a result of the artist's visit in 1588 to Prague at the behest of the Emperor Rudolf II. It thus predates by probably about seven years the slightly larger painting of the same subject by the artist that was purchased in 1982 by the National Gallery, London, although the poses and positions of the figures are quite different.
The meaning of the configuration has eluded precise identification. A drawing in the Jenisch Album, which would appear to be a compositional study for the present painting, was labelled by its owner Paul Jenisch in c. 1600 'This shows how Jupiter abandons Venus and loves Minerva amid the amasement of all the pagen gods' (Stuttgart, Landesbibliothek, Cod. hist. Q298/299, fol. 142r).