Paolo de Matteis was an important figure in the transitional period of Neapolitan art between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, moving away from the Baroque to a more Classical style. He received his early training in the studio of Luca Giordano, before moving to Rome by 1683, where he was strongly influenced by Carlo Marratta. He went to Naples on the appointment of his patron, the Marqués del Carpio, as Viceroy of Naples, in 1683. His visit to Paris in 1702-5 confirmed his classical approach to painting. He returned to Naples, which became part of the Austrian Empire in the War of the Spanish Succession of 1701-14, where his reputation grew significantly as a result of the important patronage he received from the Austrian Viceroys.
We are grateful to Professor Riccardo Lattuada for the attribution, given on the basis of photographs. He dates the picture to circa 1710-20.