This painting relates to a work of slightly larger dimensions (225 x 142 cm.) by Pier Francesco Mola in a private collection, for which there is a preparatory drawing in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. Whereas the original has a figure chasing a monkey escaping from a vase on the left hand side, this picture displays a more simplified landscape. Another version of the composition, of inferior quality, is in the Palazzo Governativo in Bellinzona. Laura Laureati suggested that the original painting may have been a portrait of Bonaventura Argenti, the famous musician of the Cappella Pontificia, who owned a considerable collection of works by Mola (Pier Francesco Mola, 1612-1666, exhibition catalogue, Lucerne, 1998, p. 157, no. 1.10).
This painting is sold with a copy of a letter of expertise from Dr. Sonja Bink, confirming the attribution to Mola in full.