Formerly in the Marcenaro Collection as a work by Georges De La Tour, this painting was attributed to Francesco Rustici by Federico Zeri. It was then described as a Flemish work in the catalogue of the Cariplo Collection. Zeri’s suggestion appears quite acceptable. The references to the very limited oeuvre of the Sienese artist, who died in 1626 at the age of just 34, are certainly convincing, above all given the close connections with the models of Gerrit van Honthorst (Gherardo delle Notti), a painter greatly esteemed for his mastery of nocturnal effects. Already pointed out by Luigi Lanzi in his Storia pittorica dell’Italia (1789), these influences characterise most of Rustichino’s work, where the Flemish handling of light is blended with a wholly Tuscan form of Classicism. Significant similarities are to be found in the Allegory of Wisdom and Prudence (Monte dei Paschi Collection, Siena). While occupying different positions in the two scenes, the detail of the skull appears to have been drawn from the same model.