The story of Bathsheba and King David has been a topic in European art at least since the quattrocento. The classical take has always been to show Bathsheba taking a bath outdoors while David is watching somewhere in the background from his castle. There is a second take which seems to be a Dutch invention: Bathsheba reading David’s letter. This one is found in a little known print by Pieter de Grebber, and later (1654) in two paintings, one by Rembrandt and the other by his student Willem Drost. There is a slightly later painting by Jan Steen as well.

Drost (whose picture you see above), only 21 at the time, clearly outshines his master here.

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