Knowing that her son would die if he fought in the Trojan war, Achilles' mother sent him to live with the daughters of King Lycomedes disguised as a woman. Odysseus, hearing that Achilles was there, went to the palace dressed as a merchant. He offered the girls jewelry and clothing but also included a sword, spear, and shield. When a trumpet sounded, Achilles automatically grabbed the weapons, thus revealing his disguise. Here Odysseus stands at the left, inviting the king's daughters into the palace.
Baldassare Peruzzi produced this drawing in preparation for one of four oval frescoes in a Roman villa. The drawing's high degree of finish, with no pentimenti, indicates that it may have been used as a modello.