Artemisia Gentileschi (Italian, 1593 - 1652)

circa 1636. Oil on canvas, 104 1/2 x 82 1/2". 1967.006

The Italian painter Artemisia Gentileschi was a highly successful and influential artist at a time when women painters were rare. For this major commission, she painted the principal figures, and, as was the common practice, she employed two specialists to paint the architectural and landscape features. King David of the Old Testament, on the balcony, is going to seduce Bathsheba, his commander’s wife. Gentileschi has emphasized Bathsheba’s dignity and noble bearing and has relied on strong light and vivid but somber colors to emphasize the silent drama of the scene.

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