Born and trained in Italy, Ippolito Caffi is best known as a vedutista, a painter of topographical scenes. This genre of painting first flourished in eighteenth-century Italy, most notably in Rome, Venice, and Naples, and was popularised by Canaletto and Piranesi. Fueled by the Enlightenment's fascination with observing the natural world, and enhanced by the invention of the camera obscura, vedute were often created as souvenirs of the Grand Tour.
In the early 1860s Caffi travelled to the Orient and to Africa, and his Orientalist paintings from these, the last years of his life, only enhanced his reputation. Caffi's pictures of Jerusalem, of which there are relatively few, combine his aptitude for realistic representation and spatial construction with his desire to subjectively interpret the city and its structures.