Flemish painter and art collector Simon de Vos was trained by portrait painter Cornelis de Vos, with whom, however, he had no family connection. He initially devoted himself to small format cabinet paintings and genre scenes. The color palette is rich and the brush strokes delicate. His early period œuvre is close to Frans Francken the Younger and the German painter Johann Liss, who worked in Italy in the 1620s. There is also an obvious influence of the Caravaggists. Later de Vos began painting historical subjects, which he executed in larger formats in the Flemish Baroque style, influenced mainly by Rubens and Anthony van Dyck.
The painting was probably made around 1640 in Antwerp. It depicts Mount Parnassus, the seat of the god Apollo and the nine Muses. Apollo and the Muses are playing musical instruments symbolizing the divine harmony of nature. Five small putti with floral wreaths are soaring over the whole scene.
(expert opinion: Dr. Klaus Ertz, Lingen)