We are grateful to Sarah Van Ooteghem for confirming the attribution to Tobias Verhaecht.
Tobias Verhaecht was born in Antwerp in 1561, where he would spend most of his life. Before entering the Antwerp guild of Saint Luke in 1590, however, he had already spent some time in Italy as a fresco painter in Rome and Florence. In 1592 the young Peter Paul Rubens came to study with him for a short time; another pupil was his own son, Willem, who became a very important painter of Kunstkamers – his most important work is preserved at the Rubenshuis in Antwerp today.
Verhaecht mostly specialized in landscapes, often incorporating monuments he had seen in Italy in his compositions. For this purpose, numerous drawings he had made in Italy circulated in his workshop, where they were copied by his pupils. The present work is very typical of his oeuvre: a fantastic (i.e. imagined) landscape consisting of three ‘layers’, from foreground to background, with lots of craggy peaks and steep valleys. The use of washes gives the work extra depth.
Pen and Pencil, Grey ink, 100 x 128mm