As observed by M.Roethlisberger, loc.cit. the present lot was only known to him by a photograph. Based on the letter B underneath the Poelenburch signature, and on the basis of comparison with the landscape with a sacrificial scene of 1631 in the Hermitage (M.Roethlisberger, op.cit., p.60, no.138, ill.) the picture is here proposed as an early work by the artist dating from the same time as the Hermitage picture. The face of the shepherd in the foreground of the latter painting is similar to those of the nymphs in the present lot. Both scenes depict executions.
The subject is taken from Ovid, Metamorphoses VI:394.