Brueghel's earliest dated landscape. Pijl (2002) suggests this work was a pendant to Ertz 1979 #22. Moreover, another painting dated 1594 by Paul Bril shares an exact provenance with these two; it is also on copper, 18 x 23.5. It was in Cologne/Antwerp show in 1992; in Cologne cat. it was #23.1 with color illustration. There are numerous 18th-century Colonna inventories that mention a landscape and a marine by Brueghel but is there anything earlier than that?
From Sotheby's catalogue: Possibly in the collection of Filippo II Colonna (1663-1714), Palazzo Colonna, Rome, traditionally identified with the painting listed in his posthumous inventory of 1714, no. 417: "Un quadro dj palmi quattro, e tre per traverso rapp.te un Paese della sqola del Brilli con sua cornice nera con battenti doratj spett.e come sopra" but much more likely described along with its pendant as nos. 881a and 881b: "Due quadri in rame d'un palmo per traverso rapp.ti due Paesini, cioè uno un Paesino, e l'altro una Marina originali di d.o Brucolo...";
Possibly by descent in the Colonna family to Filippo III, Gran Contestabile del Regno di Napoli, and possibly identifiable in his 1783 inventory, along with the pendant, as no. 417: "Due quadri di 1 1/2 per traverso= Paesi, e Marine con Figure= Bruguel Paesista";
Sotheby's catalogue 2007 says that this and Ertz #22 are too dissimilar to have been conceived as pendants.
There are no copies/close variants of this work.
displayed at TEFAF, Maastricht, 2002