Rubens’s diplomatic missions sought to bring about peace during times of war. As such, his political allegories had a very real background. Here, the subject is the antagonism of war and peace: The god of war, Mars, still rules the right-hand section of the painting, even though—at Minerva’s behest—he is on the point of leaving. The vulnerable nudity of Pax, the personification of peace, contrasts with Mars’s martial armour. Architectural fragments and a burning city symbolise the horrors of war.