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ID number:  BIRBI-58.11
Institution:  The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Artist / Maker:  Raimondi, Marcantonio (c.1480-1527/34)
Title / Object name:  The Massacre of the Innocents
Object type:  Print
Place made:  Rome
Culture:  Italian
Date made:  1513-15
Materials:  Engraving
Measurements:  Paper: 278 x 430 mm; mount: 562 x 690 mm
Provenance:  Purchased from Craddock & Barbard, December 1958, for £30

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. Marcantonio worked in collaboration with Raphael for this print, adding the background setting and other details to Raphael’s original figure drawing.

Notes:  Some 50 of Raimondi’s 250 engravings are based on compositions by Raphael, and the collaboration between printmaker and artist was one of the most important in the history of European printmaking.

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