Peter Paul Rubens 1577 – 1640

Massacre of the Innocents (Munich)

oil on panel (198 × 302 cm) — c. 1638 Museum Alte Pinakothek, Munich

Peter Paul Rubens biography

This work is linked to Matthew 2:16

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Rubens put the drama outside Herod's palace. Herod was the king who ordered the killing of all young male children in Bethlehem.

Three groups can be distinguished. In the center a woman draws the eye by holding a blood stained cloth over her head. Her face shows despair.

In the groups to the left and right women try to stop the soldiers - to no avail.

In an earlier version Rubens used only one group, making it a more intimate and therefore stronger depiction.

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