The Lyon ''Allegory of Air'' is part of a series of the elements which Jan Brueghel painted between 1606-1611. See Also:
Further information on this painting available at the Rijksmuseum voor Historische Documentatie website.
According to Buijs in Lyon 1991, p.30, there was once a whole other putto to the main figure's right who was painted out. Also some birds were changed--ones that were utterly finished to the last detail were painted out and replaced by others.
COPIES AND VARIANTS:
copper, 68 x 86, very primitive also, sold Cologne (Kunsthaus 10.xi.76 #1433); also quite bad is one sold London (Christie's 26.vi.64 #133, on copper, 25 x 35 in.). Another truly awful one sold Fieris (?) 7.vii.26 #17; another was with G. Cramer in The Hague at some point; a really dreadful one on copper, 54 x 85, in Dublin, National Gallery of Ireland, and another bad one in collection Ten Cate, Almelo, in 1975. Ste-Gudule sale, Brussels, March 27, 1912 (copper, 66 x 87 cm); Dorotheum, Vienna, March 18-21 1912 (canvas, 58 x 71 cm); Störi, Zurich, December 5, 1924; Fievez, Brussels, July 7-8, 1926 (copper, 31 x 42 cm); Lepke, Berlin, April 1911 (panel, 57 x 97 cm); Sotheby's London, June 26, 1964 (copper, 63.5 x 88.9 cm); Christie's London, December 11, 1981 (38.6 x 56.5 cm); Christie's London, December 13, 1929 (panel, 55.9 x 80 cm). These are all different paintings, and all are of varying degrees of awfulness. Why so many very bad copies here? I think it's mostly the figure painters who are bad, I can't tell so much about the birds.
There's even one with no figure!--just the birds have been copied [id on back of RKD photo only as Wetzlar].
A clearly better painting is the one sold Christie's London 11.xii.87 #67A: on panel, 45.5 x 82.5 cm. The ground here seems never to have been finished. Ertz attributes this to Jan the Younger around 1630 (before vBalen died). I don't get this picture, the figures seem to be in OK shape but the ground is either unfinished or damaged (it's certainly damaged) or both. Perhaps the figures were repainted later?
Better copies: Metropolitan Museum of Art, panel, 53 x 88 cm; Sotheby's London, July 12, 1978, #103 (copper, 40 x 56 cm); Marquess of Exeter collection, Burghley House, #115 (77.5 x 49.5 cm); Charpentier, June 10, 1954, #22 (copper, 67 x 92 cm); Christie's Monaco, June 20, 1992, #30 (panel, 55.7 x 90 cm); Saltram, copper, 57.2 x 91.4 cm); Sotheby's Monaco, December 2-3, 1988, #630 (copper, 56 x 93.5 cm).