Goffredo Wals was born in Cologne around 1595, but by 1610 he was working in Italy. He visited Naples before studying in Rome alongside Agostino Tassi, one of the teachers of the great landscape painter Claude Lorraine. It is thought that Wals also taught Claude in Naples in the 1620s. Wals travelled around Italy a great deal, but received the most acclaim in Naples, where his small poetic landscapes were popular. Wals is chiefly known for his small circular landscapes on canvas or copper, which powerfully reflect the influence of his compatriot Adam Elsheimer. He is thought to have died in an earthquake in Calabria around 1638.