Jan II Brueghel (the Younger) was the son of Jan I Brueghel (the Elder) and the grandson of Pieter Brueghel. After working for several years in Italy, he returned to Antwerp after the death of his father in 1625, where he took over the family workshop. He completed the unfinished paintings left by his father and, in the large studio with numerous employees, also produced his own work in the same style. This small panel, which depicts several animal studies a falcon, two monkeys, a pheasant and a deer , is one of the few oil sketches by this artist to have survived. These spontaneous, life-like images of animals, which are seen from multiple angles and in different states of completion, were used in the studio as models for several other paintings. The deer and pheasant are clearly recognizable in Diana Returning from the Hunt by Jan I Brueghel in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich. This is probably a sketch made by the son after a painting by his father, therefore, rather than a work from nature.