Giulio Rosati trained under Francesco Podesti and Dario Querci at the local Academy in his native Rome. Having quickly tired of the strict rigors of Academic painting, Rosati took up his studies with Spanish painter and long time resident of Rome, Luis Alvarez Catala, who later became the director of the Prado Museum. Attracted to the vogue of Orientalist painting during his lifetime, Rosati dedicated his major production to this genre of painting becoming one of the most prolific Italian Orientalist painters of his time.
Despite never having traveled abroad, Rosati cleverly invented scenes based on the numerous prints, photographs and objects which were brought back from the Orient. The present work is highly charged with the movement of horsemen who thunder through the desert past a walled city under a brilliant blue sky. The composition is largely a patische that mixes real architectural elements with a fantastic and romanticized desert landscape. Caroline Williams has identified the locale in the background as presumably the Northern Cemetery with the Mausoleum of Sultan Qaytbay and the Mosque of Muhammad Ali on the Citadel.