Solomon made many works depicting religious rituals, often featuring beautiful young men in the roles of idealised rabbis, priests or acolytes. These works are concerned as much with the aesthetic qualities of the rituals as with religious devotion.
This painting shows a young deacon in the Catholic Church, standing before an altar and carrying an urn. The vases on the altar probably contain myrtle, which in Solomon's work is often associated with love, both sacred and secular.
There is a tension between the physical beauty of the young model and the austerity and restraint of the religious theme and muted colouring. The painting reveals the parallel strands of the sacred and the sensual which run through Solomon's work, and are often combined in it.