The present lot is based on the prototype, signed and dated 1601, in the Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt (K. Ertz, Jan Brueghel der Ältere, 1979, cat.no.82, ill.13). Ertz records an autograph replica with the Terry-Engell Gallery, London, 1972-3 (cat.no.83, ill.246). Ovid, Metamorphoses (VI:369-381), tells how the goddess Latona changed the Lydian farmers into frogs because they prevented her and her two children, Apollo and Diana, from quenching their thirst in a pond in the woods. The story is retold and morally interpreted by Carel van Mander is his 'Wtlegginghe op den Metamorphosis Pub. Ovidij Nasonis' (fol.53b). There the transformation of the Lydian farmers is explained as an example of the punishment of envy.
The staffage is probably the work of another hand
See colour illustration