Mahoney dates the drawing to Rosa's Florentine period between 1640-49. A poet as well as a painter, Rose embraced the popular fashion of the 1640s for scenes of witchcraft. Previously the Counter-Reformation and the activities of the Inquisition had discouraged depictions of the subject. Along with his friend and fellow-artist Lorenzo Lippi, Rosa wrote a poem called La Strega or The Witch, which was later set to music. Most of Rosa's witchcraft scenes were painted in Florence, a more tolerant city than Rome.