Francesco Solimena came from a family of established painters and draughtsmen. His patron was Cardinal Vincenzo Orsini (later Pope Benedict XIII.). From 1690 his painting studio was amongst the most important in Naples. He found inspiration in the Roman painters Luca Giordano, Giovanni Lanfranco, and Mattia Pretti. He is the author of a number of frescoes and altarpieces, but also devoted himself to secular, courtly and mythological themes, as well as portraits.
This painting depicts an allegory of an unspecified river, traditionally shown as a male figure holding a vessel with water flowing out. The figure lies in a horizontal position looking downstream, towards the center of the image. The background is dark, the figure emerges from it and the body is modeled by shadows. The light is focused on the muscular naked male body.