A study made in the countryside around Rome, but elaborated on with the addition of two figures, typical of the classically dressed soliders who feature in many of Claude's paintings of classical and mythological landscapes. Though the people who inhabit Claude's painted and drawn landscapes are small they always play a significant part in setting the composition's mood; here, one of the soldiers holds a lance and gestures out towards the rolling hills beyond.
We know from Claude's companions that while on walks through the Roman countryside he made frequent sketches from nature, many of which are now considered his finest drawings. Here he has used the brown wash over a pen sketch, to recreate the filtered shadows of an Italian afternoon. The pictorial quality of the drawing was deliberately emphasised by Claude's use of blue paper, which has now faded, as it is especially sensitive to light.