The Biblical parable of The Prodigal Son (Luke 15, 11-32) tells how the younger of two sons demands his inheritance from his father. Taking that inheritance with him, the son departs to distant regions, where he squanders it all. Full of remorse, he ultimately returns to his father, who receives him forgivingly. The composition is a masterly exercise in balance, although Peter Paul Rubens has not simply painted a Flemish farm in full bustle. A number of animals suggest images of vice and allude to sinful behaviour. Rubens kept this masterpiece until his death. Subsequently, it belonged to, among others, the Antwerp art dealer Diego Duarte, Pieter van Aertselaer â€“ in whose collection it was seen by Sir Joshua Reynolds' and Sir Thomas Lawrence.