The scene is described in a synthetic solution, almost sculptural, with a very tragical and theatrical effect. The three main characters occupy “the stage” horizontally: the murderer is turning aggressively on the mother, who’s looking at him with a frightend and angry glance. His forearm muscles are stretched in grasping the leg of the crying baby. The setting, refleting the interest for antiquary, is intentionally bare for emphasizing the dramatic scene. The tridimensional scenography is rendered by a marble wall beneath the main features, and the perspective of a colonnade in the background, where another mother is crying. The whole painting, especially in the scene, the warrior, the screaming woman, the anatomy of the child, reminds the Raphael lesson read through the most famous French painter of that period, Nicholas Poussin, who also painted the same subject (now in Giustiniani collection, Rome).


  • Title: The Massacre of the Innocents
  • Date Created: 1860 - 1861
  • painter: Angelo Visconti
  • collocation: Asciano, Cassioli Museum. XIXth century Sienese Painting, Province of Siena
  • Place Part Of: Province of Siena
  • Physical Dimensions: w74.5 x h100.5 cm
  • Artist Biography: After a period between Florence and Siena, Angelo Visconti approached to French art thanks to the circle of Villa Medici in Rome. Oriented to overcome the Ingresian language for a greater adherence to nature, he applied to studies of violent action, with powerful results of plastic relief. The sudden death by drowning in the Tiber tragically ended his life, leaving unfinished the last works purchased by his master, Luigi Mussini, for the Institute of Siena.
  • Type: oil on canvas
  • Rights: Comune di Asciano; Istituto Statale d'Arte "Duccio di Buoninsegna"; Fondazione Musei Senesi, Fondazione Musei Senesi
  • External Link: Fondazione Musei Senesi

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