c. early 1660s
Cornelis Bisschop (Dutch, 1630-1674)
On View

These paintings represent two different imaginings of the Old Testament story of David and Bathsheba. King David, looking out of his window, saw the beautiful Bathsheba washing herself and desired her. Though she was already married to Uriah, a soldier in his army, David sent a letter to her and she came to him, eventually becoming his wife and bearing a child named Solomon, who succeeded David on the throne.

The story of David and Bathsheba was a popular theme in seventeenth-century Dutch art, inspiring a range of interpretations that explored its erotic and moral aspects. Cornelius Bisschop’s painting collapses the narrative, showing David observing the nude Bathsheba at her fountain, though she already reads his love letter. Steen depicts Bathsheba receiving the letter in her home. The domestic setting emphasizes her status as a married woman, and highlights the unsteady moral grounds of the narrative. In both cases the figure of David, watching Bathsheba from his tower, reminds viewers of their own voyeuristic gaze.


  • Artist Name: Cornelis Bisschop (Dutch, 1630-1674)
  • Title: Bathsheba
  • Date: c. early 1660s
  • Medium: Oil on panel
  • Dimensions: 15-1/2 x 13-1/4 in. (39.4 x 33.7 cm)
  • Credit Line: The Norton Simon Foundation
  • Accession Number: F.1969.45.P
  • Copyright: © The Norton Simon Foundation

Object Information

Stephan von Auspitz, Vienna, in 1931/1932;
[Sanct Luca, Vienna, 1931 to];
Daniel George van Beuningen, Rotterdam by 1932.
[Kurt Walter Bachstitz Gallery, The Hague, 1932 as Maes].
Hans Ludwig Larsen (d. 1937), Noordwijk and Wassenaar, by descent to;
Mrs. H. L. Larsen (S. Larsen-Menzell, later called Mrs. Frank E. Brower); (sale, The Hague, van Marle & Bignell, 25 January 1943, no. 48, sold before the sale on 14 January 1943 to);
E. Göpel for the Führermuseum, Linz; bought through Posse by Hitler 1 March 1943;
Recovered and returned to Dutch government; after lengthy negotiations, Larsen’s estate refused restitution and the painting reverted to the government (sale, Amsterdam, Frederik Muller, 13-19 March 1951, no. 52, ill., as Maes, La Baigneuse);
[Martin B. Asscher, London, 1953].
W. A. Hofer, Berlin 1953.
Ch. van Spaendonck, Tilburg.
[Gebr. Douwes, Amsterdam 1968; sold 1969 to];
The Norton Simon Foundation.

Rembrandt's Influence in the 17th Century

  • London, Matthiesen Gallery, 1953-02-20 to 1953-04-02
  • Haverkamp-Begemann, Egbert, Kunstchronik, p. 288
  • Sluiter, Eric Jan, Rembrandt's Bathsheba Reading King David's Letter,
  • Judson, Richard J., The Burlington Magazine, p. 704
  • Thomas Agnew & Sons, An Exhibition of the von Auspitz Collection of Old Masters, by Courtesy of Herr Walter Bachstitz,no. 18
  • Sumowski, Werner, Wissenschaftliche Zietschrift der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Gesellschafts-und Sprachwissenschasftliche Reihe,1956, fig. 60 p. 282
  • Shuji Takashina, Why the 'Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci' being the great masterpieces?,2014, 1660 p. 81
  • Sumowski, Werner, Gemälde der Rembrandt Schüler, III, pp. 1962, 1965, 1989
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best,2010, cat. 701 p. 329
  • Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, An Exhibition of the von Auspitz Collection of Old Masters, by courtesy of Herr Walter Bachitz,no. 18
  • Matthiesen Gallery, London, Rembrandt's Influence in the 17th Century,no. 52
  • Chamot, M., Country Life, p. 563
  • Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Rembrandt and his Pupils,no. 96 p. 107

Image reproduction permission may be granted for scholarly or arts related commercial use. All image requests, regardless of their intended purpose, should be submitted via the reproduction request form.

Images may be protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights. Additional permission may be required.

Approved requests for the reproduction of an image will receive a contract detailing all fees and conditions of use of the image. Upon receipt of both the signed contract and full payment, the Office of Rights and Reproductions will provide the image. A complimentary copy of the published material must be provided to the Norton Simon Museum.

Reproduction Request Form