Rembrandt Paints Bathsheba at Her Bath
Bathsheba at Her Bath is an oil painting of Bathsheba by Rembrandt from 1654.
The model was Rembrandt's partner Hendrickje Stoffels. She is known to have died young and the shadow on her left breast has led some to speculate that her death was from breast cancer.
The painting hangs in the Louvre; it was one of 583 works donated by Dr. Louis La Caze in 1869.
Rembrandt...makes the most beautiful nude of his career, in fact, the last nude painting of his career, a vessel of pure tragedy. In the 1640s, he had made a much smaller version of the same subject in a sharply different temper. The smile on the face of that Rubensian blond Bathsheba speaks of naked complicity. It's the expression of a mindless flirt, a come-on. But the 1654 Bathsheba is burdened by thought, the lines of the body evoking, for once, the self-containment of classical friezes to suggest Bathsheba's fatalism; the mood intensely self-interrogatory. Rembrandt's brushwork has as many calm passages as agitated strokes, limpid cool tones as well as Venetian warmth and softness. And it is heavy with telling contrasts - between the richly brocaded gold robe (painted with loaded strokes of yellow ocher and black), the garment of her royal destiny, and the pure white shift of her betrayed innocence; between her own dewy roselike beauty and the knowing, shaded countenance of the old servant washing her feet