[comte de Caylus]. "Exposition des ouvrages de l'Académie Royale de Peinture, faite dans une des sales du Louvre le 25 août 1751." Mercure de France (October 1751), p. 165, comments on the successful depiction of both a completed action and one taking place; states that the picture was painted several years earlier.
[Charles-Antoine Coypel]. Jugemens sur les principaux ouvrages exposés au Louvre, le 27 août 1751. Amsterdam, 1751, pp. 17–18, observes that the painting is full of fire, but the subject is not clearly laid out, the draperies are too tormented, and the light too even; notes that it is from the painter's earliest period.
Explication des peintures, sculptures, et autres ouvrages de messieurs de l'Académie Royale . . . Exh. cat.Paris, 1751, p. 22, no. 35, provide a description of the story, identifying the source as Valerius Maximus.
Jean Locquin. La peinture d'histoire en France de 1747 à 1785: Étude sur l'évolution des idées artistiques dans la seconde moitié du XVIIIe siècle. Paris, 1912, pp. 186, 245 [reprint, 1978, pp. 186, 245, pl. 26], notes that it was engraved by C.-N. Cochin.
Marcel Roux. Inventaire du fonds français, graveurs du XVIIIe siècle. 4, Paris, 1940, p. 658, under no. 317.
Henry Bardon. "Les peintures a sujets antiques au XVIIIe siècle d'après les livrets de Salons." Gazette des beaux-arts 61 (April 1963), pp. 220, 232, 241.
Claus Virch. "Reports of the Departments." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 29 (October 1970), pp. 76–77, ill.
Everett Fahy. "New European Paintings Galleries." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 30 (October 1971), p. 59.
Anthony M. Clark in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions, 1965–1975. New York, 1975, p. 88, ill.
Monique Halbout and Pierre Rosenberg. "Jean-Baptiste Marie Pierre's 'The Adoration of the Shepherds'." Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts 56, no. 3 (1978), pp. 175–76 n. 22, find in it an advance in Pierre's art, possibly inspired by the criticism of La Font de Saint-Yenne published in 1747; note that Cochin's plate is in the Chalcographie of the Musée du Louvre, Paris.
Howard Hibbard. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1980, p. 364, fig. 659.
Jean-Luc Bordeaux in The Rococo Age: French Masterpieces of the Eighteenth Century. Exh. cat., High Museum of Art. Atlanta, 1983, p. 19.
Eric M. Zafran. The Rococo Age: French Masterpieces of the Eighteenth Century. Exh. cat., High Museum of Art. Atlanta, 1983, p. 55.
Colin B. Bailey. The First Painters of the King: French Royal Taste from Louis XIV to the Revolution. Exh. cat., Stair Sainty Matthiesen. New York, 1985, pp. 109, 142, no. 150 (inventory), ill., mentions the "brilliant technique and mastery of composition which he lost in some of his later works".
William McAllister Johnson. "La gravure d'histoire en France au XVIIIe siècle (II)." Revue de l'art no. 100 (1993), pp. 23–24, fig. 20, comments that it was unusual for the engraving to have been made before the painting appeared at the Salon.
Alisa Luxenberg in The Dictionary of Art. 24, New York, 1996, p. 773, notes that it was enthusiastically received and remarks that it may be the only depiction of this subject painted prior to the revolution; observes that "the densely packed, bulky figures suggest a Rubensian or Bolognese model".
Joseph Baillio et al. The Arts of France from François Ier to Napoléon Ier. Exh. cat., Wildenstein & Co., Inc. New York, , p. 78.
Nicolas Lesur and Olivier Aaron. Jean-Baptiste Marie Pierre, 1714–1789: premier peintre du roi. Paris, 2009, pp. 5, 9, 13, 33–34, 56, 60, 72–73, 80, 179, 212, 221, 227, 232, 263, 289, 292, no. 24, ill. pp. 81 (color) and 221, date it about 1740–41; extend the provenance back to 1813; mention a copy after the soldiers' heads (private collection, Paris) and a Chelsea ware vase with this composition in reverse (British Museum, London).