The story around this painting tells of the Shield of Achilles which can be found in religious scripture, namely Iliad, Book 18, lines 478–608. Thetis meets Hephaestus to request additional weaponary and a shield for her son, Achilles.

This painting can now be found in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna and made its way there via Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria, who had purchased it many years earlier. Many of the paintings in national galleries and museums in Europe and North America were originally in private collections that were then donated to the state in generous wills. In other cases the family may have retained ownership but agreed to extended loans in order to allow as much of the general public to appreciate them in person as possible.

The Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna was established around 1871-1891 and in the years since has built up an exceptional collection of art, covering many different periods of art history. Selecting some of the paintings from artists broadly related in style to Van Dyck, you may be interested to view their highlights of The Tower of Babel and The Hunters in the Snow by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, The Art of Painting by Vermeer, David with the Head of Goliath by Caravaggio and Adoration of the Trinity by Albrecht Durer.