Gift of The Print Club of Cleveland 1964.23
Catalogue raisonné: Delaborde 296.2 ; Passavant VI.12.9 ; Bartsch XIV.21.20
Raphael drew this composition to be engraved by Marcantonio Raimondi while working in the Vatican apartments adjacent to Michelangelo, who was then painting the Sistine Chapel ceiling. The emotive scene portrays a moment from the biblical Book of Matthew when King Herod, hearing of the birth of a savior, ordered the execution of all male children under two years of age. Known for the clarity and balance of his forms and compositions, the younger Raphael may have found inspiration for this composition in Michelangelo’s narrative intensity and active, twisting nude forms.
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