The rounded part of the panel is a later addition, as shown by copies such as in the Accademia di San Luca, Rome. Ridolfi mentions the painting as being in the church of St. Mary Nuova, Venice, from which it was taken in 1808 to Brera.
The clearing in the forests is immersed in the reflections of a fiery sunset, and the stones and skin of the old hermit exude the same old-gold fluorescence. This colored flame is the real object of painting. At the heart of the maneristic composition, the intersecting diagonals are not an end in themselves, but emphasize the vitality of the wild and suggests that the wind is blowing.
Breaking the old relationship between tonal painting and the effects of twilight Giorgione and Titian devoted themselves to monumental style. After the sole principle of providing the strongest visual emotion, he achieved the highest lyrical freedom. The success and popularity of this painting shows the existence of numerous exact copies, including one made by Rubens in Haarlem and another from Brusazorzi in Rovereto.