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The period from 1600 to 1608 in the work of Rubens is closely connected with Italy and Spain. It was here that he plunged headlong into classical art, and this is especially true of the Renaissance. Returning to Antwerp, under the influence of the brilliant creations of Italian authors, the artist creates a number of paintings of mythological and religious themes.
Today in the National Gallery of London one of the most famous and expensive paintings in the world Beating the Innocents is exhibited, which depicts a plot from a biblical legend - the soldiers of King Herod exterminate infants.
As you know, this masterpiece was voluntarily transferred to the gallery (temporarily) by its owner David Thomson, who bought it at one of the auctions for 49.5 million pounds. According to the administration, the museum, this canvas of Rubens for at least three years will be able to see many viewers.
The painting shows a garden near the palace of King Herod. There are many warriors who, having drawn their swords, babies are forcibly pulled out from their mothers. They weep with grief, wringing their hands in despair, and try to resist violence. And the earth around is already covered with dead children's bodies. Innocently killed for the whim of the ruler.
Particularly vividly, the artist managed to convey on a rather large-scale canvas all the horror and fear of what was happening. The faces of mothers are disfigured by terrible grimaces, and the soldiers have a seal of cruelty even on movements. Rubens not only conveys the plot, it is as if urging the viewer to think about such incredible cruelty, to recall its causes and further consequences.
The background of this canvas is rather gloomy, made in dark shades, only warriors, mothers and children are brightly lit, above which tender angels froze in horror - a symbol of infant innocence and purity. They are perplexed and afraid, they do not understand such cruelty towards children.