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The Toilet of Bathsheba
Style of Luca Giordano
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This is a scene from a story in the Old Testament. The naked woman is Bathsheba. She has just finished bathing, unaware that she has been spotted by King David, who is standing on the roof of his palace at the top right of the picture. According to the Bible, David was so besotted with Bathsheba’s beauty that he seduced her and then ordered her husband Uriah into the forefront of a battle. Uriah was soon killed, and David proceeded to take Bathsheba as his wife.

As an unwitting temptress, Bathsheba was a popular figure in art history. Her story provided a good excuse to make pictures like this, which – thinly disguised as a religious painting – depicts a voluptuous nude in an unguarded moment. Although the style is reminiscent of Giordano, it is more likely to be by an imitator working after his death.

Key facts
Artist Style of Luca Giordano
Artist dates 1634 - 1705
Full title The Toilet of Bathsheba
Date made after 1705
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 50.1 x 63.4 cm
Acquisition credit Sir Claude Phillips Bequest, 1924
Inventory number NG4035
Location in Gallery Not on display
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