Several of Benczúr's pictures emerged only in the last years, opening new possibilities in examining his oeuvre. Not only his portraits and self-portraits which were supposed to have perished but also a very exiting landscape have emerged. The latter, just as the painting discussed here, belongs to the artist's earlier works.
Benzúr studied then later also taught at the Munich Academy. His early works were mostly absorbed by the art dealers of Munich. He was a versatile artist who painted in many genres. However, most of his works are portraits and historical compositions. The earlier period of his artistic life, the years before the end of the 1870s, is the most exciting chapter of his painting. This is the period when he created his most well-known compositions on Hungarian history and became an acknowledged artist in Hungary. On the other hand, this is the time of his searching for his own way. He had worked out a lot of motives and themes that he never touched again in his later periods. One of the examples is the genre of landscape; in his oeuvre after 1870 one looks for the genre of landscape in vain. His compositions, figures and motives which are so characteristic in his later pictures were also born in those years.
The picture discussed here is interesting from two different aspects: on the one hand, it can extend our knowledge of Benczúr's Munich period, on the other hand, its genre represents a side of the artist that is less well-known. There are few pictures with a religious theme in Benzúr's oeuvre. This painting bears the motives he used in several works later; his most well-known work is the altar piece of Saint Stephen's Cathedral in Budapest. He received commissions from the church after his return to Hungary in 1883.
His compositions usually bear the effect of his favourite great artists; the sensuous, rotund figures of this picture evoke Murillo's art.
There is not any source material to the history of the picture. Neither the family documents, nor the literature mention it. A restoration some years ago made it possible to see the exceptional painting qualities of the picture; the perfect shaping of the drapery deserves a particular attention. Benczúr's picture is a beautiful example of Hungarian academic painting based on a high quality of technical knowledge. This is one of the artist's earlier works but bears every virtues of the painter's later pictures. This is the first time the painting has been introduced to the audience after its restoration.