Another drawing by Frminet, close in handling and subject, to the present one was sold at Christie's London, 1 July 1997, lot 117. Both present characteristic features, such as muscular figures of exaggerated proportions seen from slightly below, frequently found in works such as Hannibal's Oath at the Muse Magnin, Dijon, or in the ceiling decoration of the Chapelle de la Trinit at Fontainebleau, his most celebrated work, dating from after his return from Italy in 1603.
Frminet was the son of a minor painter. He had trained among artists working at Fontainebleau before he went to Rome in 1588, where he befriended Cavaliere d'Arpino. In 1596 he visited Venice and by 1599 was working for the Duke of Savoy in Turin. He was asked in 1603 by King Henry IV to return to France to replace Toussaint Dubreuil, Premier Peintre du Roi, who had died the year before. On his arrival, he was commissioned to execute the decoration of the Chapelle de la Trinit. In 1615 Frminet was made Knight of the Order of Saint Michael. He died in 1619, however, before he could complete the project.
Drawings by Frminet are rare. A study for the altarpiece of the Chapelle de la Trinit was sold at Christie's New York, 10 January 1990, lot 103. All known sheets are highly finished drawings, such as God commanding Noah to enter the Ark at the National Gallery, Oslo (N. Ward Neilson, L'Ecole de Fontainebleau, Master Drawings, XII, 1979, pl. 35), Hannibal's Oath in the Louvre or Design for a Ceiling with an Angel, Saint Mark and Saint Luke at Christ Church, Oxford, D. Cordellier, Martin Frminet 'aussi savant que judicieux', Revue de l'Art, 1988, no. 81, figs. 22 and 24. The present sheet offers fresh insight into Frminet working methods.