Famous as the first master of Rubens, Verhaecht came from a family of painters - including his father, Cornelis van Haecht - and art dealers. He spent much of his early life in Florence, where he won the favour of Francesco I, Grand Duke of Tuscany (reg. 1574-87), and in Rome, where he earned a reputation as a painter of landscape frescoes. Van Mander mentioned him as an 'aerdigh goet Landtschap-maker', and he may be the same as the Tobia recorded by Giulio Mancini as having resided in Rome for some years and as having surpassed in his art the work of Herri met de Bles, Domenico Campagnola and Matthijs Bril. In 1590 he became a master in the Guild of Saint Luke in Antwerp, where in 1594 he was commissioned to design the decorations for the triumphal entry into the city of the Archduke Ernst of Hungary.
The present work is typical of the artist's oeuvre in its depiction of an extensive rocky landscape with a far-reaching view. Comparable in many ways to the work of Joos de Momper, and recognisably of the Flemish tradition of atmospheric perspective, Verhaecht's fantastic landscapes nonetheless display an idiosyncratic approach, perhaps influenced by the engraved landscapes published by Hieronymus Cock after designs by Pieter Bruegel I. Those works were similarly influential for such artists as Hans Bol and, in turn, Jacob and Roelandt Savery, echoes of whose rocky alpine landscapes are noticeable, as here, in Verhaecht's work.