This hitherto unpublished picture is an important addition to the oeuvre of the most individual and poetic artist working in Naples during the first half of the seventeenth century. A copy of it, whereabouts unknown, was published by Ann Lurie in the catalogue of the exhibition, Bernardo Cavallino of Naples (The Cleveland Museum of Art, The Kimbell Art Museum, Museo Pignatelli Corter, Naples, 1984-1985, p. 182, fig. 66a). Thus it is likely that the present picture can be identified as the original, which Lurie considered lost (ibid.).
We are grateful to Professor Nicola Spinosa for confirming the attribution on the basis of a colour transparency; he dates the picture to the late 1630s or the early 1640s, a period when the artist was strongly influenced by Artemisia Gentileschi (letter, 23 October 2000). Furthermore, he believes that the picture certainly predates one of the same subject in the Novelli collection, Naples (op. cit., 1984-5, no. 66).