Rembrandt's masterful Bathsheba Reading King David's Letter is unusual both as a history painting and as portrayal of a nude. Instead of displaying a sumptuous body for the viewer's delectation, Bathsheba elicits our empathy. This collection of essays by six leading Rembrandt scholars examines its qualities from perspectives ranging from changing perceptions of female beauty and the nude, technical analysis, and biographical and psychological analysis of the artist, the subject, and the viewer.
Table of ContentsIntroduction: perspectives on Rembrandt and his works Ann Jensen Adams; 1. Rembrandt's Bathsheba: the object and its transformations Ernst van de Wetering; 2. Rembrandt's Bathsheba and the conventions of a seductive theme Eric Jan Sluijter; 3. An incomparable Bathsheba Leo Steinberg; 4. Reading Bathsheba: from mastercodes to misfits Mieke Bal; 5. Not Bathsheba: I. The painter and the model Svetlana Alpers; II. Uriah's gaze Margaret D. Carroll; 6. 'Though deficient in beauty': the reluctant, then hyperbolic reception of a masterpiece Gary Schwartz.