The Horrors of War

The god of war, Mars 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 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
47.6 x 76.2 cm
Acquisition credit
Bought, 1856
Inventory number
Location in Gallery