On 27 October 1480 Botticelli, together with other Florentine painters, left for Rome, where he had been called as part of the reconciliation project between Lorenzo de' Medici, the de facto ruler of Florence, and Pope Sixtus IV. The Florentines started to work in the Sistine Chapel as early as spring 1481, along with Pietro Perugino, who was already there.
The theme of the decoration was a parallel between the lives of Moses and Christ, as a sign of continuity between the Old and the New Testament. A continuity also between Mosaic Law and the message of Jesus, who in turn chose Peter (the first bishop of Rome) as his successor; the latter's successors were the popes of Rome.
Botticelli painted three scenes, helped by numerous assistants. On 17 February 1482 his contract was renewed, including the other scenes to complete the chapel's decoration. However, on the 20th of the same month, his father died: he returned to Florence, where he remained.