A design for one of a series of ten tapestries depicting scenes from the life of Otto von Wittelsbach, commissioned by Duke Maximilian of Bavaria in 1603. B. Volk-Knüttel, Wandteppiche für den Münchener hof nach Entwürfen von Peter Candid, Munich, 1976, no. 8, pls. 97-8. Candid, who had been active in Munich since 1586 and was the leading painter at court following the death of Friedrich Sustris in 1599, worked up the compositions following the iconographic suggestions of the historian Marx Welser. Five tapestries showed important political events in Otto's career, while five showed his battles. The conflict shown in the present drawing depicts the struggle between Otto and Henry, Duke of Saxony and Bavaria, which in 1180 led to the Emperor transferring the Dukedom of Bavaria to Otto. As such it represents the symbolic foundation of the Wittelsbach dynasty to which Maximilian was heir and which ruled Bavaria until the 19th Century.
The tapestries were woven in Munich under the direction of Hans van der Biest, who was brought from Enghien by Maximilian in 1604, and were intended to decorate the newly renovated Residenz Schloss. The first version of the Battle with Henry the Lion tapestry was finished by 1610 after 16 to 18 months of weaving. This editio princeps was executed with the inclusion of costly gold and silver thread, while a second, simpler version based on the same cartoons was woven in wool and silk at the Paris workshops of Marc Comans and Raphaël de la Planche after 1614.
The drawing is in reverse to the tapestry, and beyond the repositioning of the horseman to the left of the drawing, shows very few compositional differences. A number of other drawings are connected with the project. A drawing related to the falling figure to the left of the drawing, which appears in the centre-right of the tapestry, is in Munich, B. Volk-Knüttel, Peter Candid Zeichnungen, exhib. cat., Munich, Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, 1979, no. 25. A group of compositional drawings, of the same technique as the present sheet, are also in Munich (B. Volk-Knüttel, op. cit., nos. 54-71) and a further four are in the Louvre, F. Lugt, Inventaire général des dessins des écoles du Nord, maîtres des anciens Pays-Bas nés avant 1550, Paris, 1968, nos. 676-9.