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Artist: Bisschop, Cornelis 1 of 1

Bathsheba, c. early 1660s

Cornelis Bisschop

Dutch, 1630-1674
Oil on panel
15-1/2 x 13-1/4 in. (39.4 x 33.7 cm)
The Norton Simon Foundation
F.1969.45.P
© The Norton Simon Foundation

Not on view

Originally thought to be by Nicolaes Maes, this painting is now generally attributed to Cornelis Bisschop. Like Maes, Bisschop was born in Dordrecht, and was a versatile practitioner of portraits, history and genre paintings, and it was especially this latter subject where the styles of the two artists intersect.

But biblical paintings, such as this one depicting Bathsheba, are typical of Bisschop’s style that emanated from his teacher, Ferdinand Bol (1616–1680), especially seen here in the dramatically lit, smooth skin of her body. The picture tells the story from the second book of Samuel, chapter 11, when King David, standing atop his palace, sees the beautiful Bathsheba bathing at a fountain beyond, and sends a servant with a letter asking her to come to him. Characteristic of the Dutch use of symbols as admonitions, this lesson sends a message of caution to even the most pious, as was King David, to avoid temptation.

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Artist: Bisschop, Cornelis 1 of 1