Little is known about the biography of Besenzi except for the date of his second testament, 1646, recorded by Tiraboschi, and his presumed service at the court of King Louis XIII of France. He was probably a pupil of Francesco Albani and Lionello Spada. His first dated picture, of 1641, is the Martyrdom of Saints Placido and Flavio in the Church of Ss. Pietro e Prospero, Reggio. On the basis of this a small oeuvre has been constructed, including St. Catherine Kissing Christ's wounds (Museo Civico, Reggio) and Susanna and the Elders (see Il Barocco Italiano. Due Secoli di Pittura nella Collezione Molinari Pradelli, Milan, 1995, p. 148, fig. 69) which is close in style to the present picture.