Marcantonio Raimondi (c.1480-1527/34)

The Massacre of the Innocents

Rome, 1513-15


Paper: 278 x 430 mm

Mount: 562 x 690 mm

This harrowing scene depicts a key episode from the New Testament. Following the Magi’s prediction of the birth of the King of Jews, King Herod ordered the assassination of all male infants in Bethlehem. The idealised classical poses of the nude children and soldiers add an element of restraint to the scene. However, the true horror is visible in the contorted poses and expressions of the desperate mothers. Raimondi worked in collaboration with Raphael for this print, adding the background setting and other details to Raphael’s original figure drawing.

Purchased December 1958 (No. 58.11)