The Massacre of the Innocents (Without the Fir Tree)

The Massacre of the Innocents (Without the Fir Tree)

c. 1513-1515

Marcantonio Raimondi

(Italian, 1470/82-1527/34)

after Raphael

(Italian, 1483-1520)


Gift of The Print Club of Cleveland 1964.23

Catalogue raisonné: Delaborde 296.2 ; Passavant VI.12.9 ; Bartsch XIV.21.20


Raphael’s choice of subject for this print may have been a deliberate strategy to promote himself as Michelangelo’s rival in the invention of complex compositions in the popular antique style. The scene depicts the aftermath of Herod’s order following the birth of Christ to slaughter all male children two years old or younger in the region of Bethlehem. A frequent subject in art, it offered artists a vehicle to invent a variety of active male and female figures, and to portray an array of emotions such as wrath, fear, and anguish. Working together in Rome, Raphael and Raimondi infused the engraving with local interest; in the background is Rome’s Pons Fabricius, the city’s oldest bridge, built about 62 BC, and still standing today.

See also
PR - Engraving
Type of artwork: 

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

Is something not working on this page? Please email

Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar.