Tobias Verhaecht was born in Antwerp in 1561. It is not known who taught Verhaecht, although he probably received his first training from his father, Cornelis van Haecht. He must have also been a painter, as Tobias was admitted to the Antwerp Guild of St Luke as the son of a master in 1590. Before his admittance to the guild, however, he had already spent some time in Italy, first in Florence - Francesco I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany was his patron - and later on as a painter of landscape frescoes in Rome. Shortly after his return to Antwerp he married Suzanna van Mockenborch; the couple had two sons (Cornelis and Willem) and a daughter (Suzanna). In 1592 the fourteen-year-old Peter Paul Rubens came to study with him for a while, before being apprenticed to Adam van Noort; another pupil was his own son, Willem, who became a very important painter of Kunstkamers – his most important work is preserved at the Rubenshuis in Antwerp today. Marten Ryckaert was another notable student of Verhaecht. A year after the death of his wife in 1595 he married Esther Pamphi, who was the sister-in-law of Sebastiaen Vrancx; with her he had two more children. Verhaecht was a member of the Violieren, a local Chamber of rhetoric connected to the Antwerp Guild of St Luke, for which he wrote a comedy in 1620.
Verhaecht mostly painted landscapes; his style was indebted to the manneristworld landscape developed by artists like Joachim Patinir and Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Many of his works depict imaginary mountains characterized by rocky peaks seen from a high viewpoint, often with villages and figures dwarfed by their surroundings yet rendered in meticulous detail. His landscapes mostly have a high horizon and are built up using the traditional three-color plan. Verhaecht collaborated with artists such as Jan Brueghel the Elder, Sebastiaen Vrancx and Frans Francken the Younger to paint the figures in his landscapes. The present drawing, depicting a couple of travellers near a suspended bridge in a forest landscape, is a beautiful, large and very well-preserved sheet, and very typical of Verhaecht's early work, showing the influence of Pieter Bruegel the Elder's landscapes.