This unpublished work is a fine addition to the relatively small known corpus of Goubau, which totals fewer than 60 works according to Agnes Tieze (see A. Tieze, Anton Goubau (1616-1698), Stuttgart, 2004, p. 112). Schooled in Antwerp, he left his native city at some point before 1642 to travel to Paris and then on to Rome, where he settled as part of the second generation of bamboccianti, who had travelled from northern Europe in the 1640s. Unlike many of his contemporaries who had made the same journey and subsequently chose to stay on in Italy, Goubau went back to Antwerp, where he is recorded by 1650. There he set up a successful workshop which would run for some 40 years: he trained, amongst others, Nicolas de Largillière and Jan Frans van Bloemen.
Our picture, which postdates his Rome trip, is one of his most pleasing treatments of the southern market and harbour scenes that established his popularity back in his home town. Set amongst idyllic, crumbling ruins and illuminated by warm early evening light, a group of travellers seems to be resting after a hunt. The cast of characters on show – some on horseback, others conversing and merry making, some elegant, others not – is varied and spirited in nature. In their arrangement they are not dissimilar to the group in the landscape in Braunschweig, Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum (Tieze, A15), though the mood he achieves in the present picture is brighter and more colourful. In its overall scope and quality, the composition can also be favourably compared to The Art Lesson, dated 1662 (Antwerp, Koninklijk Museum voor Schoone Kunsten; Tieze, A21).