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The Massacre of the Innocents with the Fir Tree

One of the most famous images of the Renaissance, Raimondi’s engraving was made in collaboration with Raphael. This complex, multi-figured composition portrays the soldiers of King Herod as idealized nudes engaged in violent motion, demonstrating Raimondi’s mastery over the male figure. Raphael and Raimondi control the action, with its potential to disrupt the perfect harmony of image and frame, by means of a strongly symmetrical composition and careful spatial pacing. The reactions of the mothers offer eloquent testimony to the artist’s ability to render extreme emotions.

Marcantonio Raimondi
Italian, ca. 1470/82–1527/34
after Raphael, Italian, 1483–1520
The Massacre of the Innocents with the Fir Tree
Engraving on paper
Image/sheet: 10 7/8 x 17 1/8 in. (27.6 x 43.5 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Henry R. Hope, 62.218