Sebastien Bourdon

Massacre of the Innocents

Massacre of the Innocents
(click image to zoom-in)
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.

Style: Classicism
Source of entry: Collection of Sir Robert Walpole, Houghton Hall, 1779
Theme: The Bible and Christianity

Site map

Albums Authors Countries Sources Epoches Exibitions Genres
Personages Schools Styles Techniques Themes Types Workshops

Image Use Policy

Unless otherwise noted, images this web site may be used for any purpose without prior permission.

Any material in the public domain found on this web site is not protected by copyright.

We make no representations or warranties with respect to ownership of copyrights in the images, and do not represent others who may claim to be authors or owners of copyright of any of the images, and make no warranties as to the quality of the images.

We shall not be responsible for any loss or expenses resulting from the use of the images, and you release and hold us harmless from all liability arising from such use.

We do not sell art prints, framed posters or reproductions. Ads are shown only to compensate the hosting expenses.