Paris, seated with his back to the viewer, gives the prize of a golden apple to Venus, the central standing goddess, whom he judged to be the most beautiful of the three. To the left stands Juno who is angered by the choice, and to the right, turned away, Minerva, identifiable by the armour at her feet. Venus is accompanied by Cupid and crowned by a putto; another putto holds two doves. Paris is accompanied by Mercury at the left, and in the background two satyrs watch the contest. At the right a water god and a nymph recline on the ground.
This work was probably painted shortly before Rubens's departure for Italy in 1600.