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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.

The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust)



Wrath of Achilles




oil on panel


H 106.8 x W 108.5 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Princes Gate bequest, 1978

Work type



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The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust)

Somerset House, Strand, London, Greater London WC2R 0RN England

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