The subject is taken from Boccaccio’s Decameron: Cimon, an uncouth character, comes upon the lovely Iphigenia as she lies asleep in a meadow. As he contemplates her beauty he falls in love with her, so ennobling his spirit. This moral allegory was very popular with seventeenth-century Dutch artists, who represented the moment when Cimon sees the young woman for the first time.
The painting is a splendid example of the compact, glossy and bright painting of Willem Van Mieris. Its quality is evident above all in the rendering of the green drapery, the female nudes and in the open landscape. The ancient ruins and the poses of the figures are inspired by classical Italian models.