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The composition of this painting is closely based on Annibale Carracci's 'Flight into Egypt', the most famous of the lunettes painted by Annibale for the chapel of the Aldobrandini Palace and now in the Galleria Doria Pamphilj, Rome. The fortified town is almost identical, even to the extent of there being the same number of windows on individual facades. However, unlike Annibale's painting, Domenichino's work has no narrative focus; it is instead peopled with genre figures: a recumbent woman watching a fisherman sorting his catch, boatmen, a woman and a playful child, a shepherd and his flock.

The painting is one of Domenichino's most celebrated landscapes and was much admired by Constable.

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