This canvas was painted in 1635 to a commission from the Italian abbot Cesare Alessandro Scaglia, Count of Verrua. Besides fulfilling various diplomatic missions, Scaglia was also a businessman and art dealer. As ambassador to London, he served the interests of the Spanish king Philip IV. In 1639, the acutely sick Scaglia came to Antwerp to see out his last years in the monastery of the Recollects. Anthony van Dyck was commissioned to paint a Lamentation of Christ to hang above Scaglia’s tomb. The abbot possessed seven paintings by van Dyck and was portrayed by him several times.