Kern first trained under the Saxon court painter Lorenzo Rossi (c. 1690-1731) whom he accompanied to Venice in 1723. There he joined the workshop of Giovanni Battista Pittoni, with whom he worked until moving to Prague in 1735. Kern is known to have occupied an important position in Pittoni's studio and his artistic dependence on his master is attested to by the number of copies he made after his compositions. Whilst not a copy, the left side of the present picture appears to be reliant on Pittoni's upright composition of the same subject, datable to 1732, of which the primary version is in the Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart (see F. Zava Boccazzi, Pittoni, p. 161, no. 187, fig. 248 and 254). Kern has here adapted the prototype, making minor alterations to the setting and the gestures of the protagonists, and extended the composition to the right. Presumably painted shortly after the invention of Pittoni's composition, towards the end of his years in Venice, Kern is known, at around the same time, to have produced copies after Pittoni's Sacrifice of Polyxena, of 1732, now in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, and Saint Elizabeth of Thuringia distributing Alms, a composition that originated in 1734 for the picture in the chapel at Mergentheim Castle.
We are grateful to Professor Pavel Preiss for confirming the attribution on the basis of a photograph. He considers the picture to be of 'excellent quality' (verbal communication).