Herman Saftleven was active as a painter, draftsman and engraver, and was the brother of Cornelis Saftleven, also an artist. Herman's early work demonstrates a debt to Pieter Molijn and Jan van Goyen. From the 1650s on, he traveled extensively in the Rhine valley, focusing on native Dutch landscapes. He recorded these journeys in numerous sketches, which he worked up into the many paintings, prints, and finished drawings that he produced in the latter part of his life.
This mountainous river landscape with scattered castles and tiny, active figures is both topographically accurate and idealized. The colorful palette typifies Saftleven's work from the 1680s. He was widely known and admired during his lifetime and much copied after his death by artists such as Jan Griffier I and his sons.
The present painting will be included in the forthcoming second edition of the catalogue raisonné of the artist by Dr. Wolfgang Schulz.