(b. 1500, Treviso, d. 1571, Venice)

Bathsheba Bathing

c. 1549
Oil on canvas, 234 x 217 cm
Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne

King David (shown as a very small figure in the background, looking out of one of the windows of his palace) fell in love with the beautiful Bathsheba when he saw her bathing and had her brought to him for a lovers' tryst. Soon afterward he sent her husband Uriah (the horseman close to the vanishing point of the picture) to his death, treacherously ordering him to be set in the forefront of the battle, and then married Bathsheba himself. God punished the couple with the death of their first son.

Paris Bordone used the scenery appropriate to tragedy from Serlio's architectural treatise. He began by drawing the architecture on a full-size cartoon, which he then transferred to his canvas by tracing it through holes.