Nicolas Mignard, known as Mignard d'Avignon, was the eldest member of a family of distinguished artists. He was born and first trained in Troyes, but his artistic origins are to be found in his youthful work at Fontainbleau and his studies in Rome, where he was particularly influenced by the work of Raphael, Francesco Albani and Annibale Carracci. Upon his return to France, Mignard settled in Avignon, where he enjoyed considerable success, and many of his paintings can still be found in and around the city. In 1660 Mazarin called Mignard to Paris, where he worked on the decoration of the Palais des Tuileries and painted portraits of members of the court.
No portraits by Mignard are known, and mythological scenes are extremely rare, but he was admired for his religious paintings. Early works betray the influence of Vouet, but by 1650 his style had evolved to resemble more closely that of his brother Pierre. It is to this period that the present composition belongs, and indeed, the figures demonstrate a greater sense of sculptural solidity than those of Vouet. Another version of this subject by Mignard, dated 1653, is in a private collection, Munich (see A. Schnapper, in the exhibition catalogue Nicolas Mignard d'Avignon, Avignon, 1979, p. 80, no. 50).