Bathsheba Bathing

Artemisia Gentileschi • Painting, 1650, 258×218 cm
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About the artwork
Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Nude, Mythological scene
Style of art: Baroque
Technique: Oil
Materials: Canvas
Date of creation: 1650
Size: 258×218 cm
Content 18+
Artwork in collection: Smart and Beautiful Natalya Kandaurova
Artwork in selections: 11 selections

Description of the artwork «Bathsheba Bathing»

There are three known works of Artemisia Gentilesky, bearing the name Bathing Bathsheba: one is stored in the New Palace (Potsdam), the otherin the Art Gallery (Columbus), the third- in a private collection. They are similar in composition and differ only in details. In all cases, naked Bathsheba sits before a balustrade surrounded by her maids. At her feet is a shiny vessel for ablutions, and behind her - an urban landscape with a cloudy sky, trees and buildings, decorated with decorative columns. All three are considered written in Naples, when the artist was already far beyond 50.

Bathsheba is traditionally depicted bathing, because for this occupation, according to the Bible, it was first seen by the Israeli king David. He was walking on the roof of his house and from the height before his eyes a wonderful sight was opened: in the courtyard the wife of one of the bravest Israeli warriors, Uriah the Hittite, was bathing. Captivated by the rare beauty of Bathsheba, David ordered the woman to be brought to her quarters. So she became the beloved of the king. Later, David ordered his commanders to throw Uriah into the thick of the battle, "that he should be stricken and dead", and when this happened, he married Beersheba. Their first-born was born dead, and David repented that he had sinned so much before God. About his repentance tells the famous 50th Psalm, which is necessarily included in the church service. David's repentance was accepted: God sent them with Bathsheba the sons of Nathan and Solomon, who became king after David.

It is interesting that on most canvases of Artemisia Gentileski you can see the naked female body, but the rare men in her paintings are always dressed. This state of affairs is explained by the fact that the Church categorically forbade women to write nude male models. Female nature Artemisia, as a rule, wrote from herself, but for Bathsheba, she probably needed another model.

Comparing "Bathsheba" with the earlier heroines of Artemisia (Judith or Lucretia), you can see that the artist's manner has undergone great changes. In her youth she was more influenced by Caravaggio, in her paintings there were more dramatic contrasts and more strong emotions. But when mature Artemisia wrote Bathsheba, the fashion has changed very much: customers have cooled to caravagism, and he was replaced by the art of more refining, which later will be called Mannerism.

The sinuous lines and graceful-capricious gestures in Bathsheba Bath show that Artemisia Gentilesky was not afraid to experiment and modify her art if new trends demanded it.

Quite wonderful landscapes in the background "Bathing Bathsheba", it is believed, do not belong to the brush of Artemisia - she was not a master of landscape painting, but to learn the perspective of Agostino Tassishe, as you know, prevented the story of rape and a seven-month lawsuit (more - in the biography of the artist). It is assumed that the landscapes for her paintings are executed by the artist Viviano Codazzi.

Author: Anna Yesterday
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