Sebastian Vrancx may have been the first artist in The Netherlands to create paintings exclusively dedicated to the representation of battle scenes. Over half of his known oeuvre is devoted to battles, skirmishes and the pillaging of villages, subjects all too familiar after the outbreak of the Eighty Years’ War in 1568. Vrancx may have had first-hand knowledge of the war and its consequences due to his enrolment in the Antwerp civic guard in 1613 of which he became captain in 1621.
The present painting is typical of Vrancx's mature style, which is distinguished by complex figural groups engaging within vast landscapes. Vrancx provided figures in the landscapes of Jan Brueghel and his son. After the death of his father in 1625, Jan Brueghel II took over the father's workshop in Antwerp. In the following years he achieved a refined style. The detailed rendering of the foliage in the present picture reveals his technical brilliance and makes a date of the late 1620s plausible.
This painting is offered together with a copy of a certificate by Klaus Ertz, dated 16 February 2007, who inspected the original painting and dates this collaboration between Breughel II and Vrancx to the late 1620s.