This painting has received several different titles during its existence. It's present owner, the National Gallery in London, UK, choose to refer to it as Christ Appearing to Saint Peter on the Appian Way. In this meeting it is believed that Saint Peter is actually imagining the image of Christ carrying the cross and is so convinced of his presence that they hold a conversation. He asks Christ, 'Lord, where are you going?' and Christ replies that he is on his way to [or from] Rome for [or to avoid] a second crucifixion. Others refer to this painting with the Latin name of 'Domine quo vadis?'.
Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini is believed to have provided Carracci with this commission and it would soon become part of his overall art collection, as documented in 1603. This artwork itself was completed in 1601-02. It is believed that the artist was gifted some gold jewellery as a bonus for creating an artwork which particularly pleased the donor. The artist would have been in his early 40s at the time that he completed this painting.
This scene is not commonly seen in the Renaissance or Baroque periods, with most artists choosing some of the other passages from religious scripture instead for inspiration. The context to this scene is that Peter himself is fleeing Rome during a time of political turbulence, which included the persecution of Emperor Nero. The imagined meeting with Christ persuades the apostle to return to Rome and face his punishment rather than abandoning all that he stood for.