Copy in Elmira, Arnot Art Museum, on copper, 25 x 34, which Ertz mysteriously attributes to Jan and an unknown Flemish painter from around 1605. In the copy, the child who strangely accompanyies the leftmost nymph in the present work is not there. Ertz dates the present work and the Elmira version bizarrely early, like before Jan went to Italy, which is plainly impossible. Clearly De Backer cannot have collaborated with Brueghel while the latter was in Italy, though; there is no record that De Backer ever was there. It's unlikely, but not as far as I know impossible, that they could have collaborated after Jan came back to Antwerp. De Backer seems to have died in France around 1600, so was he already there when Jan returned? At the RKD the present work is filed under Hendrik de Clerck, which would solve the dating problem. It doesn't seem good enough to be him, and yet I feel that it's closer to him than to any other figure painter. The quality of this work is mixed, with very nice parts and very bad ones. The nymphs in the background are awkward, poorly drawn, and don't connect spatially to the ones in the foreground (who are very nicely done). It's hard to say about the attribution of the foreground and landscape but it doesn't scream "early work" to me. In fact the dog reminds me of things that come a little later in Jan's career. The two dead rabbits at the lower left are poorly done and make me doubt the whole thing. I would reject both this and the copy. There is something really wrong with the space, as there never is in a real Brueghel. There needed to be a greater distance constructed between the foreground and background figures and the landscape painter failed to do this. And there is no way that the first paintings of Jan have this kind of stagey foreground with dead game and hunting dogs; it's just wrong. Possibly more research into the process by which the painting was made could help us to understand these discrepancies.