The goddess of love, Venus, asked her husband, Vulcan, to make a set of armor for Aeneas, her son, when he was about to go to war. Here, Vulcan shows off the richly decorated shield he has made, as Venus and Cupid hover above him on a cloud. He gestures to the helmet and sword that lie at his feet.
Francesco Solimena made this drawing in preparation for the painting of this subject that now belongs to the Getty Museum. Solimena altered some of the design when he transferred the images from paper to canvas. For example, he changed the position of Cupid and gave him the helmet to hold. Solimena used a painterly combination of pen and brown ink to outline the figures, black chalk hatching to give texture to Vulcan's muscular legs and the clouds, and brown wash to soften the edges and create deeper shadows.