The Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648), which involved large parts of Northern Europe, was an event that left a lasting mark on the seventeenth century. This widespread fighting is reflected in art: battle scenes, looting soldiers, and the suffering population are common subjects in this period.
One of the painters who specialised in this type of subject was Sebastiaen Vrancx. In the pendants in Aschaffenburg, he depicted two aspects: ‘Battle of the Cavalry’ focuses on the confrontation of two enemy parties: coming from two directions, they collide in the centre of the picture with their rifles cocked. Shots from the ambush and trumpets accompany the action. In the pendant, the departure after the battle is depicted: the victors loot the provision carriages, clothing is removed from the dead, and remaining prisoners are either arrested or killed.
The event is illustrated with a plethora of details. Vrancx focuses not on the heroic, but on the horrendous aspect of war.