The story of Anna, her husband Tobit and their son Tobias is told in the apocryphal Book of Tobit. God tested them by reducing them to poverty and causing Tobit's blindness. In the 17th century they were considered to be examples of piety in adversity.
This painting was engraved as the work of Rembrandt during his lifetime, but it has subsequently been argued that its meticulous detail suggests that it was either a collaboration between Rembrandt and his Leiden pupil Gerrit Dou, or by Dou alone. Recent comparisons with the work of Rembrandt and Dou have made it clear that the painting is, in fact, an authentic work by Rembrandt painted in about 1630.