Wrath of Achilles
Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640)
Oil on panel
Width: 108.5 cm ( panel ); Height: 106.8 cm ( panel ); Width: 125.8 cm [unchecked] ( frame ); Height: 123.8 cm [unchecked] ( frame ); Depth: 5.5 cm [unchecked] ( frame );
Acquisition (source, method, date)
Seilern, Antoine (Count); bequest; 1978
About this work
In Homer’s Iliad, King Agamemnon must return his beloved Chryseis to her father to stop the plague that was decimating the Greek army. Enraged, Agamemnon takes Achilles’ lover Briseis in her place.
Rubens shows the moment when the furious Achilles draws his sword, and Agamemnon starts to rise from his throne in response. The sense of imminent conflict is captured in the dramatic movement of Achilles’ arm towards his sword, and the intense alarm of the anxious on-lookers.
This is one of a series of works tracing the life of Achilles that Rubens painted as designs for tapestries.
(Permanent collection label)
This work is not on display
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Copyright: © The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London