The hazy, golden light that suffuses the scenery of this picture is characteristic of Jan Both's Italianate landscapes. They were inspired by the artist's stay in Rome between about 1637 and 1641 where he studied the local landscape and the Mediterranean light. Because of the popularity of these works he continued to paint Italianate scenes after his return from Italy. The present picture was probably executed in the Netherlands. As is usually the case with his landscapes, they show an imaginary setting that evokes the Roman campagna. On occasions he had other painters insert figures and animals into his landscapes, yet they were painted by Both himself.
The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN