William Wetmore Story worked as a lawyer before he became an artist. He moved to Italy, where he spent the rest of his life and career. Many of his sculptures were inspired by figures from the Bible or ancient Greek plays. He is known for his ability to realistically depict the emotions of sculpted human figures. Story created Saul under the Influence of the Evil Spirit before and during the American Civil War. He was living overseas in Rome at the time, where his studio was a popular gathering place of artists and writers.