The style of this painting on copper, animated by numerous small figures, is characteristic of the work of Filippo d’Angeli (or di Liagno), better known by the name of Filippo Napoletano. This artist relatively short career evolved between Naples and Rome, except for a brief parenthesis lasting less than five years, between 1617 and 1621, when he lived and worked in Florence. He also worked some time at the court of Cosimo II. He painted small landscapes with figures, and marine and battle-pieces, with great skill, and spread a taste for this class of art in Italy.
The chronology of this diversified artist, also an engraver as well as an excellent draughtsman, remains fragmentary despite the many, recent studies. These began in 1957 with the article by Roberto Longhi, which provided a solid base for further scholarship.
Filippo Napoletano is a fascinating artist. Besides the influence of his Roman but mainly Neapolitan education following in the wake of Caravaggio and the Caravagesque painters, he also adopted the contributions of French and Northern cultures. Northern artists were omnipresent in Italy in the first years of the seventeenth century. For example in Naples, there was, among others, Gofredo Wals, in Rome, the German Adam Elsheimer, Paul Bril, Balthasar Lawers, and in Florence, Cornelis van Poelenburgh. The latter came from Rome in order to work for Cosimo II, who highly valued the precise manner of the Northern painters. Most importantly, Jacques Callot was in Florence during the same period as Napoletano, even preceding him by several years. The two artists worked in close collaboration. They were both indisputable masters of “realist” representation.