Copyright: Zucchi Bathsheba.jpg
lshafe (27 January 2004 17:42:09)
The Toilet of Bathsheba
Oil on panel, 120 x 144, 7 cm
Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica, Rome
Attributed to Giorgio Vasari, this panel was loaned to the Italian embassy in Berlin in 1908. Though the painting was assumed to have been destroyed in the bombardment of Berlin at the end of the Second World War, it survived and was acquired by the Wadsworth Atheneum (Hartford) in 1965. In 1998 the Atheneum returned the painting to the National Gallery at the Palazzo Barberini. The attribution to Zucchi was made in 1925, and the painting was dated to the first years of the 1570 ‘s on the basis of stylistic comparison to other Zucchi paintings of this period. The rich and lively chromatic range, the smooth surfaces, the movemented poses and the sculptural quality of the figures are all comparable to Zucchi ‘s work at the Palazzo Vecchio and at the Palazzo Pitti in Florence. On account of the closeness between the complex pose of the figure to the left and that of a small bronze allegorical figure of Astronomy executed by Giambologna (Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum) in 1573, it is possible to set the ‘terminus post quem’at that year.
The toilet of Bathsheba was an Old Testament narrative that enjoyed great popularity during the Renaissance. From the roof of his palace, King David spied the lovely Bathsheba taking her bath. Though she was the wife of Uriah, one of his generals, David was charmed by the sight of her and ordered that she be brought to the palace to share his bed. When she became pregnant from their union, David arranged that Uriah should be killed in battle so that he might have Bathsheba for himself. His misdeeds were punished with the death of the baby, his first son. The second son of David and Bathsheba would be Solomon, who eventually succeeded him to the throne.