This hitherto unpublished and beautifully preserved canvas is an addition to a group of approximately sixty securely attributed capricci by the artist. Marieschi is thought to have turned his hand to easel paintings of this kind under the influence of Marco Ricci in the early 1630s, having begun his career as a stage painter. It was in this capacity that he is first recorded in 1731, working for the impresario Francesco Tasso on the setting for a carnival in Venice.
No other version of the present composition is known. However, the vast classical portico which serves as a repoussoir in the right foreground features (with notable differences) in a number of capricci from the 1630s and is probably closest to that in a picture formerly with Speelman, London (see R. Toledano, Michele Marieschi, Catalogo ragionato - Seconda edizione riveduta e corretta, Milan, 1995, p. 146, no. C.13). That work was dated by Toledano (loc. cit.) to circa 1637 and a similar date seems likely for the present picture. In the Speelman canvas, as is the case here, the classical portico is used as a boat-house; a gondola can be seen hanging in the rafters and a hastily erected staicase in the right foreground gives access for the boat-builders to the vessels inside. The town in the background of the present picture was traditionally identified as Ancona, but the architecture is almost certainly imaginary. The picture is remarkable for the absence of any figures, something that appears to be practically unique within the artist's oeuvre.