The Massacre of the Innocents
Pen and brown ink
260 × 400 mm
Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest 2195
Carefully detailed and modelled drawings were needed to aid engravers in the execution of prints. The Budapest sheet was intended for this purpose, and embodies the last preparatory stage of Marcantonio Raimondi’s engraving in which Raphael’s contribution was required. Among the half a dozen drawings that survived for the print, the Budapest drawing is the only one in which all figures are found, except the two slain infants in the foreground, and even the parapet of the bridge is included. The painter needed a handling of the pen that was ideally suited to an engraving. In order to guide the printmaker, he concentrated on clarifying the lighting of the intricate multi-figured composition. This aim may lay behind the strictly descriptive manner of the drawing.
drawing, pen-and-ink, Raphael