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The Massacre of the InnocentsEnlarge image

The Massacre of the Innocents, c. 1515

Lucas (the Elder) Cranach, Workshop of

pen and grey-brown ink with grey wash and additions in pen and brown ink on laid paper, laid down on wove paper
30.5 x 21.9 cm
Purchased 1961
National Gallery of Canada (no. 9497)

This drawing is probably a preliminary work for Cranach’s painting of the same subject, perhaps made for Frederick the Wise, Duke of Saxony, who appointed Cranach court painter in 1504. Frederick owned 215 supposed relics of the murdered children. The architecture and costumes place the scene in 16th-century Wittenberg.

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