Koch began this large format work in 1804 in Rome without having received a commission. Completed in 1812, the painting was first presented in 1817 at the Academy Exhibition in Munich and was subsequently purchased by the Art Academy. Ludwig I acquired the work in 1850 for his collection of contemporary paintings. The Gulf of Salerno was the inspiring motif for Koch's magnificent landscape, which he had already used in a watercolor study as early as 1795. After the passing of a severe storm, the figures in the foreground look upon a world free of strife - an idealized "Superior Ancient Greece". Even the poisonous snakes are carried away by birds into the sky, heralding the advent of a new Golden Age. An enthusiastic supporter of the ideals of the French Revolution, Koch invested this vision of a new Arcadia with political meaning.