Border with Athaliah Ordering the Massacre of the King's Children

Simon Beningabout 1525 - 1530

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

To the right, Athaliah, mother of the recently deceased King of Judah, impassively watches soldiers slaughtering her sons' offspring so that she can become queen. The eventual restoration of the rightful ruler--a grandson who had escaped--brought an abrupt end to Athaliah's reign and her life. Medieval Christians often saw such Old Testament stories as prefigurations of New Testament stories with similar themes. In this case, the text on the page concerns Herod's order to kill all the male children of Bethlehem younger than two years old in the hopes of murdering Jesus. The miniature that would have faced this page, removed from the manuscript at some point in its history, surely depicted the Massacre of the Innocents.


  • Title: Border with Athaliah Ordering the Massacre of the King's Children
  • Creator: Simon Bening
  • Date Created: about 1525 - 1530
  • Location Created: Bruges, Belgium
  • Physical Dimensions: Leaf: 16.8 × 11.4 cm (6 5/8 × 4 1/2 in.)
  • Type: Folio
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Tempera colors, gold paint, and gold leaf on parchment
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 83.ML.115.51
  • Culture: Flemish
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Ms. Ludwig IX 19, fol. 51
  • Creator Display Name: Simon Bening (Flemish, about 1483 - 1561)
  • Classification: Manuscripts (Documents)

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app
Google apps