Hans Kemmer was born in Lübeck in circa 1495 and spent his formative years in Wittenberg as a pupil of Lucas Cranach I. He returned to Lübeck in 1522 to work on several commissions for local churches. His masterpiece, the Olafs-Altar in the Bergenfahrerkapelle in the Marienkirche in Lübeck, was commissioned by the executors of the celebrated mountaineer, Tiedeke Roloeves, and completed in 1524 (destroyed in the Second World War). By 1528, Kemmer was successful enough to purchase a large house on the Königstrasse.
Dr. Kurt Löcher and Dr. Dieter Koepplin suggested the attribution of this picture at the time of the Chrysler sale, on the basis of photographs. This was subsequently confirmed by Dr. Koepplin after examination of the picture in the original. They compared this painting to the Olafs-Altar, and consequently dated it to just afterwards, circa 1525.
In its arrangement of the figures, set three-quarter-length in a row across the picture plane, Kemmer's composition seems to take its lead from Cranach's panel of the same subject of circa 1520, a subject that the latter was to treat several times in his career (see M.J. Friedländer and J. Rosenberg, The Paintings of Lucas Cranach, London, 1978, nos. 129, 216 and 364). It differs most dramatically from Cranach in the addition of a parapet, along which Christ inscribes in Latin the words TERRA TERRAM ACCUSAT.