William Marshall Craig (Scottish, fl.1787-1827) after Sir Peter Paul Rubens
The original painting was presented to the National Gallery, London (NG46) by the Duke of Sutherland in 1828. The painting was probably executed in England in 1629-30, illustrating Rubens's hopes for the peace he was trying to negotiate between England and Spain in his role as envoy to Philip IV of Spain. Rubens presented the finished work to Charles I of England as a gift.
The central figure represents Pax (Peace) in the form of Ceres, goddess of the earth. The children have been identified as portraits of the children of Rubens's host, Sir Balthasar Gerbier, a painter-diplomat in the service of Charles I. To the right of Pax is Minerva, goddess of wisdom. She drives away Mars, the god of war, and Alecto, the fury of war. A winged cupid and the goddess of marriage, Hymen, lead the children to a horn of plenty. The satyr and leopard are part of the entourage of Bacchus, another fertility god, and leopards also draw Bacchus's chariot. Two nymphs or maenads approach from the left, one brings riches, the other dances to a tambourine. A putto holds an olive wreath, symbol of peace, and the caduceus of Mercury, messenger of the gods.