This painting by De Lairesse is a typical example of the style that came into fashion in Holland at the end of the seventeenth century. The light colours, smooth brushwork and even lighting are characteristic of this classical style.
The subject is a story from classical antiquity. The Greek hero Achilles is dressed as a woman, in the hope that he can avoid being sent into battle. The painting depicts the moment when he picks up a sword on impulse and betrays himself.