One of the most important painters of the Düsseldorf School, Oswald Achenbach studied at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf. His main influences were his elder brother, the painter Andreas Achenbach (1815-1910), and his teacher, Johann Wilhelm Schirmer. In 1850 Achenbach travelled to Rome and the Campagna, where he met Arnold Böcklin, who was also studying in Düsseldorf. This journey was to be of fundamental importance to Achenbach. From this time onwards the Italian landscape and the southern way of life became his preferred subject. Numerous drawings and oil sketches bear witness to his intensive study of nature. The warm ochre tones, attention to detail and the severe form of his works at this period still show Schirmer's influence. However, after another journey to Italy in 1857, when he visited Rome, Naples and Capri, these traits were largely eliminated. In contrast to Schirmer's rational compositional methods, atmospheric elements became of greater importance in Achenbach's work. His study of light and colour had shown him that the best way of conveying the sensation of a plein-air landscape was by blending one area of the picture into the next to create an atmospheric haze of colour. The background of the present lot may be considered to be an example of this.