Jan Both was one of the most influential and important of the Dutch Italianate painters, based in Utrecht. He had certainly travelled to Italy, between 1638 and 1641. This picture was probably painted when Both was in Rome. His older brother, Andries (born c.1612), also a painter, drowned tragically in a Venetian canal in 1642. The broad characterisation and handling of the figures seems to contrast with the delicacy of the landscape detail which has led to suggestions that Andries might be responsible for them. Jan Both is known to have collaborated with figure painters on some works, but in this case the evidence is not conclusive.