The incomplete aspect of Hendrick Goltzius' two engravings The Adoration of the Shepherds (lot 41) and the present work represent an exception in the work of an artist otherwise known for his highly finished compositions. Whilst both engravings as we know them are extremely striking (and that this in itself would have been enough reason for Goltzius to interrupt his initial designs) it is unlikely that the artist did do so deliberately. As Peter Parshall remarks: 'Goltzius' habitual commitment to highly refined, virtuoso performance with the burin, and the mannerist inclination to fill the field of any composition, speak against a deliberate decision to leave the plate in an unfinished state'. (The Unfinished Print, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 2001, p. 17). It is likely that impressions of both prints were only released by Jacob Matham, Goltzius' son-in-law, following the artist's death and as a posthumous tribute to his extraordinary skills as an engraver. Whatever play of serendipity led to The Massacre of the Innocents remaining as it does has left us with an image of tremendous graphic potency with its powerful figures set within a distorted and disorientating space.