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|Author: Sebastien Bourdon|
|Painting, Oil on canvas, 126x177 cm|
|Origin: France, Early 1640s|
According to the Gospel of Matthew , when King Herod learned from the Magi that a child was born in Bethlehem who was predestined to become the King of the Jews, he ordered that all boys aged two and under who were born in this city should be killed.
Most likely the main reason why this painting was made was the artist's wish to respond to Charles Lebrun's 1647 work by the same name .
The picture is one of the most complex in terms of composition to be found among Bourdon's works. In the way space has been organized and in the plastic rendering of the figures, we can see the influence of Nicolas Poussin, such as from his works Gathering of the Manna and The Rape of the Sabine Women . The event can be followed by the viewer step-by-step. Our gaze moves from one group to another leading towards the centre of the picture. The event takes place against a background of magnificent structures in precise and simple geometric forms that lend additional clarity to the composition.
|Source of entry: Collection of Sir Robert Walpole, Houghton Hall, 1779|
|Theme: The Bible and Christianity|
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