Magnus Stenbock was the son of Count Gustaf Otto Stenbock. He was appointed governor-general of Scania in 1707. Three years later, in 1710, he was triumphant when he defeated a Danish army at Helsingborg during the Great Nordic War. According to tradition, his victorious army was made up of peasants wearing wooden shoes. The battle ended Danish attempts to reconquer Scania.
After Stenbock defeated a Danish-Saxonian army in Mecklenburg in 1712, he was made field marshall. The next year he initiated an attack on Jutland but had to surrender at the fortresss of Tønningen in Schleswig, where he was captured. He spent the rest of his life as a Danish prisoner of war in the Citadel of Copenhagen, among other places.
Magnus Stenbock was artistically very gifted. He was a talented and recognized poet, and during his imprisonment he spent a lot of time painting. Several of these paintings have been preserved, for example at Rosenborg, together with some of his turnery.