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12 août 2016

Hendrick Goltzius, Massacre of the Innocents, ca. 1585–86

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Hendrick Goltzius (Netherlandish, Mühlbracht 1558–1617 Haarlem), Massacre of the Innocents, ca. 1585–86. Engraving; third state of three, Sheet: 19 in. × 14 5/8 in. (48.3 × 37.1 cm). Gift of Henry Walters, 1917; 17.37.60 © 2000–2016 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

Goltzius, one of the supreme printmakers of his day, seems to have been unwilling to show others his incomplete work. Yet two of his unfinished plates were printed, including this example, probably soon after his death. This engraving of the Massacre of the Innocents, the biblical story of Herod's infanticide of first-born male children, would have been one half of an extraordinarily large composition with a symmetrical plate at the left. Goltzius likely began the work in competition with Marcantonio Raimondi, whose print of the same subject was already famous, but it is unclear why it was not brought to fruition.

This work is exhibited in the "Unfinished: Thoughts Left Invisible" exhibition, on view through September 4th, 2016. #MetBreuer

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