Unpublished before its inclusion in the 1993-4 exhibition, this is a modello for part of de Mura's fresco in the dome of the church of San Nicola allà Carità, Naples, for which receipts preserved in the archives of the Banco di Napoli record eight payments between 30 July 1733 and 9 August 1734. The advanced state of deterioration of the fresco makes the survival of this modello particularly significant for an assessment of de Mura's achievement. He was paid no less than one thousand ducats for this important commission and the result 'n'ebbe l'applauso del Pubblico', according to De Dominici (Vite de' pittori, scultori, ed architetti napoletani, III, Naples, 1745, p. 696). Following close on the artist's work at Montecassino and in the Neapolitan church of the Nunziatella, it confirmed de Mura's status as the leading painter of decorative cycles to emerge from the studio of Francesco Solimena. De Mura's style was to remain close to that of his master's frescoes in Santa Maria Donnalbina, Naples, until his departure for Turin in 1741. Indeed, the artist was to reuse compositional solutions and even actual figures from the San Nicola allà Carità fresco in his Saint Joseph received into Paradise of 1741 in the dome of San Giuseppe dei Ruffi, Naples.
Dottor Gino D'Alessio intends to publish this picture in his forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the work of de Mura.