Returning to the ancient custom of celebrating important civic or political events on the walls of the Palazzo Pubblico, Siena decided in 1881 to commemorate the death of Victor Emanuel II, the first king of united Italy, by illustrating the main events of his life by the frescoes of the so-called Sala del Risorgimento. The project had another purpose as well; besides paying tribute to the unification of Italy, it also had the open intent to celebrate the modern school of Sienese painting created by Luigi Mussini, who was charged with coordinating the undertaking. He called his closest collaborators and students to execute the paintings between 1886 and 1888.
The grand scenes, illustrated in the upper section of the walls, present episodes from the Risorgimento in which the king was directly involved; on the ceiling, were painted allegorical subjects alluding to the unification of Italy. This episode, painted by Amos Cassioli as a vivid and dramatic scene, was one of the clashes in the major Battle of Solferino and San Martino (24 June 1859), which brought the Second War of Independence to a close.