Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Dutch Bathsheba

Jan Steen (c.1626–1679) was a Dutch genre painter of the Dutch Golden Age. He depicts here how Bathsheba receives the letter from King David. Despite it’s one of the relatively few paintings not showing the typical bathing scene with King David peeping it shows Bathsheba doing her toilet – probably she had not much more to do.

More interesting is therefore to compare the painting with another one depicting a normal Dutch doing her toilet.

The similarities are obvious, only that the biblical Bathsheba has more luxury, some handmaidens and shows more nudeness.


  1. Interesting in that it shows Bathsheba as a seductress when, in reality, she was a victim.

  2. That's one of the big problems. Many clerics and artists seem to have been convinced, that she wanted to be seen by David, she wanted to seduce him, to become his queen.
    Anyway the Bible is not clear. So it depends on the personal conviction of the artist or his customer.