The painting, lost for more than a century, depicts the notorious case of Edgardo Mortara, a 6-year-old Italian Jewish boy seized by church authorities from his family’s home in Bologna in 1858, based on a rumor that he had been baptized by the family’s illiterate gentile servant girl. If baptized, the boy would have to be considered a Catholic in the eyes of the church and would no longer be allowed to remain in the home of his Jewish family. Such unauthorized conversions of Jewish children were not uncommon in the papal states. Despite the family’s desperate pleas and protestations, little Edgardo was brought to a monastery in Rome, taken in by the pope, and raised as a Catholic. When he grew up, he became a priest.