ROCCA, Michele
(b. 1666, Parma, d. ca. 1751, Venezia)

David and Bathsheba

Oil on canvas, in a painted oval, 48 x 38 cm
Private collection

The painting illustrates a biblical passage from the second book of Samuel. 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.

The painting is typical of Michele Rocca's work and indicate that his painting, although grounded in the Baroque tradition, resonated more with the emerging French Rococo movement. The size of the composition and its decorative appeal are also characteristic of Rocca's small-scale cabinet pictures of mythological and biblical scenes that gave him his reputation as a small master in eighteenth-century Rome.