Wright was an inventive and talented artist who painted portraits, landscapes, and unusual images of contemporary life. He spent most of his career in his native Derby in England, but a trip to Italy in 1773–75 provided much material for his art. He witnessed an eruption of Mount Vesuvius and sketched the grottoes off the coast of Salerno, near Naples; both subjects became favorites for his later work. A group of melancholy bandits adds a picturesque note to this composition, one of Wright's most important grotto paintings. With its hazy atmosphere and soft, golden light, the landscape is at once poetic and realistic.