The ‘Legenda aurea’ tells of how Lawrence refuses to hand over the riches of the Church, distributing them instead among the poor. As a punishment, he was to pay homage to heathen idols (represented in this painting by a marble statue of the king of the gods, Jupiter, top right). When he refused, he was tortured on a red-hot grate. The angel sweeping down from above with the palm frond of victory and a laurel wreath already announces the triumph over martyrdom. In his interpretation of the literary source Rubens picks up on Titian’s works.