First recognised as Schedone by Raffaello Causa after its discovery in 1979, this picture was published by Dwight C. Miller in the 1986-7 exhibition catalogue. The composition had previously been known from copies in the Ospedale Riuniti, Parma and at Imola.
Miller dates the picture c. 1611-2, just before his final masterpieces, The Three Marys at the Tomb and The Entombment of 1614, now at Parma, and observes that Saint John's mantle anticipates the charged 'powerful, sculptural structuring of the drapery' in these. He observes that the beam of light that falls on the saint 'is close in its pictorial effect to the type of lighting used by Caravaggio' but notes that 'the evocative effect of a strongly illuminated figure in a shadowy setting was deeply rooted in Schedone's Emilian heritage', citing Correggio and Ludovico Carracci. 'In the dense foliage, light-fringed clouds, the air of pensive silence', the picture indicates to Miller 'Schedone's response to the Ferrarese culture of Dosso Dossi.' Miller further comments that such landscapes 'must have provided an incentive for the young Guercino'. In the pattern of Schedone's own career the picture represents a development from the intimacy, as much in mood as in scale, of most of his earlier devotional pictures that anticipates the charged drama of the canvases of 1614.