Described recently by Klaus Ertz as a work 'von allerbester Quälitat um 1600 von Jan d.Ä. geschaffen' (loc. cit.), the present work offers a superb example of Jan Breughel the Elder's most refined style employed for small-scale landscape painting at the turn of the 16th century. Other examples from the same date, that adopt the same circular format, include the The Sacrifice of Isaac (Geneva, Musée d'Art et d'Histoire), and the Rest on the Flight into Egypt (Munich, Alte Pinakothek), both of which, like this example, are unsigned and on panel. The meditative theme of the hermit shown in isolation and in harmony with the landscape was a subject treated sporadically throughout the artist's career. The present composition seems, as Ertz has suggested, to have been born from a drawing made by Jan in 1593 (Rotterdam, Museum Boymans van Beuningen), which shows, in rectangular format, broadly the same arrangement of the landscape elements. This drawing may in turn have been inspired by an engraving by Hieronymous Cock after Pieter Brueghel the Elder (Jan's father), which first adopts this type of marshy, wooded setting (for reproductions of both works on paper, see Ertz, loc. cit., p. 607).