Rembrandt's 'Bathsheba Reading King David's Letter'

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Rembrandt's masterful Bathsheba Reading King David's Letter is unusual both as a history painting and as a portrayal of a nude. Instead of displaying a sumptuous body for the viewer's delectation, Bathsheba elicits our empathy. This collection of essays by seven leading Rembrandt scholars examines its qualities from perspectives ranging from changing perceptions of female beauty and the nude, technical analysis, and biographical and psychological analysis of the artist, the subject, and the viewer. The juxtaposition of these different approaches to a single work highlights how both the artist and his art are constructed through the questions we ask, and facilitates a comparison of some of the different approaches practiced by art historians today.