Born in the provincial artistic centre of Lyons, stopover town along a major travel route between Paris and Rome, Stella was the son of a Flemish painter. Stella journeyed to Florence and Rome. There, he earned a reputation both as a painter and designer for prints. A profound friendship with Poussin established during this period affected his art. In 1634, he left for Paris where he won the heart of Cardinal Richelieu. Appointed as the King’s Painter, Stella was lodged in the Louvre. He received commissions from prominent Paris collectors. His classic compositions, with idealized yet doll-like figures, contain naturalistically observed genre details. Stella was an accessible, less intellectually demanding articulator of Poussin’s aesthetic in France. The rare subject matter of this late work, painted in a sombre Poussinist manner, derives from the Gospel according to John. The composition of the painting is both powerful and moving. The diagonal thrust of the beautiful, poignant dead figure of Christ outwards towards the viewer creates a great immediacy of experience, evoking a profoundly tragic sympathy from the believer.