The subject of this painting comes from a medieval German epic poem beloved of the Romantics. The poem tells how the skilful smith Wieland was held captive by King Nidung, who ordered his tendons to be cut to prevent him fleeing. Schwind shows the king¿s daughter covertly visiting Wieland to give him a bracelet for repair. The smith takes advantage of the situation to exact revenge. He rapes the princess and leaves her with child, before escaping with the aid of wings he has made secretly.