The attribution has been kindly confirmed by Jap Bolten who pointed out that the drawing is related in reverse to plate 126 of Bloemaert's Tekenboek engraved by the artist's son Frederick, M. Roethlisberger, Abraham Bloemaert and his sons, Gent, 1993, no. T126). The first edition of this 'book of drawings' was published between 1650 and 1656 and contained 120 plates. In the 1650s Frederick engraved a further 46 plates which were not published until 1740. According to Marcel Roethlisberger, Abraham used as models for the engravings a group of sheets he drew from 1620 onwards. When Frederick undertook to engrave his father's drawings, Abraham drew another version of each sheet, all of which are now bound in an album in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.
The present drawing, from the first group, was probably executed around 1632 when Bloemaert used this figure in a picture of The young thief now in a private collection in London, M. Roethlisberger, op. cit., no. 499, fig. 683.