Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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Sebastiano Ricci (Belluno, Italy, 1659 - 1734, Venice, Italy)



Creation Date

ca. 1724


18th century


5 3/8 in. x 5 1/8 in. (13.6 cm. x 13.02 cm.)

Object Type


Creation Place

Europe, Italy

Medium and Support

pen and brown ink and brown wash on paper

Credit Line

Bequest of the Honorable James Bowdoin III


Public Domain

Accession Number

In this study for a painting, the Venetian Rococo painter Sebastiano Ricci sketches out an arrangement of attendants surrounding the bathing Bathsheba, one of the major female protagonists of the Old Testament. The spirited touch and fluid lines, the strong contrasts of the figures, and the rapid flourishes that adorn the architectural elements are characteristic of Ricci’s late drawings. This work was most likely created in Venice, after Ricci, whose travel and work throughout Europe earned him international esteem, returned to his birthplace. Artworks representing Bathsheba at her bath are quite common, as this scene allows for the illustration of a beautiful female nude during a moment of violated privacy, when King David’s illicit glance inflames his desires. This drawing is likely a compositional study for Ricci’s painting of the same subject, “Bathsheba” (1725), held in the collection of the Gemaldegalerie, Berlin.

Keywords: figures (representations)   work on paper   master drawing   nude(s)   Biblical  

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