Luca Giordano created this preparatory study for a painting (now in the Palacio Real, Madrid) during his sojourn in Spain from 1692 to 1702, when he worked as court painter to Charles II. Giordano was a prolific painter and draughtsman, and one of the most celebrated artists of the Neapolitan Baroque. He enjoyed an international reputation, and because of his legendary speed of execution, he was dubbed "Luca la presto" (do it quickly). This drawing is very close to the finished painting, suggesting it was executed in the final stages of the design process. The vigorous and freely-handled brush is characteristic of Giordano's mature work.