Wolfgang Heimbach was a mute painter who was sent to train in the Netherlands and there came under the influence of Dutch genre painters such as Dirck Hals and Pieter Codde. In around 1640, Heimbach travelled southwards to Italy where he remained until 1651. The present painting probably dates from the artist's time in Italy, during which period he began to achieve a dramatic impact with chiaroscuro in his paintings.
Christopher Wright (see Literature) has endorsed the attribution to Heimbach and has compared the present work to other night scenes by the artist, in which single figures shield the flame of their lamps with their hand, casting a distinctive shadow upwards onto their faces; see, in particular, the Young Girl with an Oil Lamp and the Young Man with an Oil Lamp, both in the Galleria Doria-Pamphili in Rome.1
1. See B. Nicolson, Caravaggism in Europe, vol. I, Turin 1989, p. 121, reproduced vol. III, pls. 1609 & 1610.
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