Mars, the god of war, marches from the Temple of Janus encouraged by the Fury of War, Alecto, while Venus attempts to restrain him. A woman on the left personifies unhappy Europe; on the right, Alecto is accompanied by two monsters who symbolise the Plague and Famine; beneath are personifications of Harmony, Fecundity, Maternity and Charity, all who thrive under peace.

This is a reduced copy of a painting by Rubens (Florence, Palazzo Pitti), which is thought to date from about 1637-8. It may have been executed while the Pitti painting was still in Rubens's studio.

Key facts

Artist
Artist dates
1577 - 1640
Full title
An Allegory showing the Effects of War ('The Horrors of War')
Date made
after 1638
Medium and support
Oil on paper stuck down on canvas
Dimensions
47.6 x 76.2 cm
Acquisition credit
Bought, 1856
Inventory number
NG279
Location in Gallery