Klaus Ertz attributes this jewel-like painting in large part to Van Balen, while acknowledging the hand of Jan Brueghel the Elder in the small landscape and still life details. He suggests that this was possibly the preliminary version for the composition which is repeated almost exactly in a larger copper, signed by Van Balen, in which the number of figures is slightly reduced and the table is brought further toward the edge of the picture plane (Swiss private collection).1 Ertz dates both paintings to circa 1608, following other collaborative works of similar subjects at this time, such as The Wedding Banquet of Bacchus and Ariadne (Gemäldegalerie, Dresden; inv. no. 919), which likewise shares many compositional similarities.2
1. 29.5 x 41.3 cm.; see Ertz 2008–10, p. 811, cat. no. 405, reproduced in colour p. 812. In Bettina Werche's monograph, the entry on the Swiss painting lists a copy, of similar dimensions to the present work, as having been offered in Paris, Drouot, 28 March 1990, lot 91, but no painting matching this description or dimensions appears to be listed in the auction catalogue. See B. Werche, Hendrick van Balen (1575–1632): Ein Antwerpener Kabinettbildmaler der Rubenszeit, Turnhout 2004, vol. I, p. 183, under cat. no. A117.
2. See Ertz 2008–10, pp. 690–94, cat. no. 337, reproduced in colour p. 691.
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