About this artwork

This is a fragment of a full-size preparatory cartoon for a tapestry that forms part of the so-called ‘Scuola Nuova’ series in the Vatican, dating from the early 1520s. The cartoons were probably executed by one of Giulio’s assistants in Brussels, where the tapestries themselves were made. The scene of the Massacre of the Innocents in this series is spread over three separate tapestry panels. Numerous other fragments from the cartoons for these survive, at Christ Church and the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, and at the British Museum and the Foundling Hospital in London.

Updated before 2020

  • artist:
  • title:
    Tapestry Cartoon: Two Heads from the Massacre of the Innocents
  • date created:
    About 1520 - 1524
  • materials:
    Tempera on paper laid on panel
  • measurements:
    52.30 x 36.10 cm; framed: 90.00 x 74.00 x 8.50 cm
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Bequest of Sir David Monro to the RSA 1878; transferred and presented 1910
  • accession number:
    NG 638
  • gallery:
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Giulio Romano

Giulio Romano

Giulio Romano was one of Raphael's most talented students, and with fellow student Gianfrancesco Penni continued to run his master's workshop after Raphael's death in 1520. He moved from Rome to Mantua in 1524 entering the service of Duke Federico II Gonzaga as court painter, designer and architect. Giulio Romano's technical skills and inventiveness were particularly expressed through his many drawings. He became a major exponent of the Mannerist style evident in his masterpiece for the Duke: the architecture and fresco decoration of the Palazzo del Te in Mantua.