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Storytelling in Miniature

Heinrich Aldegrever
German, 1502–about 1561

Absalom Killing Amnon, from “The Story of Absalom and Tamar”

Engraving, 1540
4 5/8 x 3 in.
Museum purchase, 1925.28

According to the Bible, Amnon, the oldest son of King David of Israel, sexually assaulted his half-sister Tamar. In revenge, Absalom, the third son of King David and Tamar’s full brother, sent his servants to kill Amnon during a feast of all the king’s sons. In this dramatic print, with the dagger about to be thrust into Amnon’s back, Heinrich Aldegrever has placed the weapon in the hand of Absalom himself. A servant with a sword assists in the deed.