Rubens spent the years 1600-1608 in Italy and Spain, where he immersed himself in the world of classical art and the Renaissance art. After returning to Antwerp, inspired by the works of the old Masters, he wrote a series of paintings on religious and mythological themes.
The London National Gallery exhibits one of the most expensive paintings in the world – “Beating the Innocent”, which describes a well-known biblical event – the extermination of infants by King Herod.
It is reported that the picture fell into the museum’s collection temporarily on the good will of its owner media magnate David Thomson, who bought it in 2002 for 49.5 million pounds at auction.
The museum management also expects that this work of Rubens will be available to the general public for another three years.
Beating babies (Matthew 2:16). At the time of the birth of Christ, Herod the Great, upon learning of the birth of the Infant, who was destined to become the “king of the Jews,” and fearing that his own power would thus be usurped, ordered the killing of all babies in Bethlehem and its environs.
But the Holy Family, warned by the angel, had already fled to a safe place (Flight to Egypt).
The scene is a garden in the palace of Herod. Warriors with bare swords pull babies out of the hands of their mothers, bitterly sobbing and resisting violence. The earth is strewn with dead bodies.