Francesco Somaini (1795-1855) studied at the Academia di Brera in Milan under the guidance of Camillo Pacetti, who was a contemporary and friend of Antonio Canova. In 1822 he won first prize in a government competition for his relief The family of Niobe struck down by Diana and Apollo (Galleria d'Arte Moderna, Milan), and another of his reliefs, depicting the battle of Arcis, is on the Arco della Pace in Milan as well. He worked for many years for the Fabbrica del Duomo, and seems to have focussed on large scale and architectural sculpture. Two kneeling angels which Somaini sculpted for the high altar of the cathedral in Novarra are stylistically extremely close to the figures of the present reliefs. The reliefs must originally have been part of an interior decorative architectural scheme where they would have been placed high on the wall, probably functioning as overdoors.