CRANACH, Lucas the Elder
(b. 1472, Kronach, d. 1553, Weimar)

David and Bathsheba

Oil and tempera on res beechwood, 36 x 24 cm
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

King David (looking down from the roof 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 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.

This panel is typical of Cranach's satirical approach to biblical subjects recast as courtly contemporary 'tableaux vivants'.