One such, the present work, is dated to the year when Rottenhammer returned to his native Bavaria, where he settled permanently in Augsburg. It is impossible to tell whether he painted there or before his departure from Venice, because his style in the first decade of the seventeenth century shows only a slow evolution. It is a highly characteristic work, its composition perfectly adapted to the chosen oval format. Here he revisits a subject that he had treated in 1601, in a work now in Baltimore.1 The compositions are not the same, but they are sufficiently similar to suggest that Rottenhammer kept a drawing as a record. This was probably not the drawing of the subject in Florence, which is much closer to the present composition, and was probably made in preparation for it (see fig. 1).2 Although of rectangular format, there are hints in the upper corners and in the figure in the lower right that Rottenhammer was working towards an oval composition. The drawing includes all the figures found in the present painting except the Cupid playing a lute-like instrument. By comparison with the present work, the female figures in the Baltimore painting are if anything more ample and Titianesque. In between the two paintings Rottenhammer painted a large-scale version on a rectangular canvas, dated 1603, and now in Nuremberg (see fig. 2).3 It is hard to say if the Uffizi drawing dates from before or after the 1603 painting.
The background of the present picture, including the trees that are much superior to those in the background of the Nuremberg painting, and entirely different to those in the Baltimore work (which are Venetian in feel and reminiscent of Paolo Fiammingo, in whose studio in Venice Rottenhammer worked), would appear to be the work of Jan Brueghel the Elder.
1 Baltimore Museum of Art; see Aikema in Munich 2004, p. 37, reproduced fig. 57.
2 Florence, Uffizi; Aikema in Munich 2004, pp. 38, 140, reproduced fig. 58.
3 Nuremberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum; Aikema in Munich 2004, p. 140, reproduced fig. 189.
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