Rubens captures a moment, full of affection, in its dramatic climax: Horses rear up and lash out with their hooves while huntsmen thrust their spears into the lion. One draws back his sword and is about to strike down the quarry. The focal point of the scene is the motif of the rider being attacked by a lion and pulled off his horse, as already shown in the Munich oil sketch (inv. no. 15475). The motif of the claws that the lion digs into the horse’s body has been taken from Classical art and the horses themselves are influenced by Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Battle of Anghiari’.