Roman by birth, Filippo D'Angeli gained his sobriquet 'Napoletano'
following early training in the city of Naples. The present work was painted during his stay in Florence where he worked from 1617 at the court of Grand Duke Cosimo II de' Medici. It can be compared with, for instance, the River landscape, sold Christie's, London, 10 December 1993, lot 363 (£30,000=$44,700), and the Watermill and Landscape with a Tower both in the Pitti Palace, Florence (L. Salerno, Pittori di paesaggio del Seicento a Roma, I, Rome, 1977-8, pp. 207 & 211, pls. 38.3 & 38.8), which show the influence of the northern artist, Godfried Wals, with whom he seems to have studied prior to his return to Rome in 1614. Filippo Napoletano was attracted by the fine detail and brilliant light that enlivened landscapes produced by Netherlandish and French artists working in Italy. Echoes of Claude, Cornelis Poelenburgh, Bartholomeus Breenberg and Paul Bril can all be seen in his paintings, and the figures in his landscapes often recall those of Jacques Callot with whom he became well acquainted in Florence. The present work can be dated to the 1620s.
The present painting may be connected to a famous series of engravings by Napoletano entitled 'The Skeletons', executed by the artist between 1620 and 1621 at the request of Johannes Faber, a zoologist, botanist, and collector of skeletons (see, for example, drawings by the artist connected to the series illustrated in Catalogue des dessins Italiens: Collections du Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille, Paris, 1997, pp. 128ff).