Bathsheba at her bath, 1841 - 1842
Francesco Hayez - Oil on panel - cm 107 x 77
This subject, which had been popular with old masters such as Rembrandt, is here successfully interpreted by Hayez who tackles the female nude with a naturalistic touch, seeking his inspiration in the work of Guido Reni, Cagnacci and Domenichino. The theme is an Old Testament story but it is used as a pretext for a picture with a strong erotic impact. The panel was commissioned by Marquis Ala Ponzoni, a wealthy art collector and patriot.
The painting came to the Academy in 1889 as a bequest of the marquess Filippo Ala Ponzoni, and was then given to the Pinacoteca. Though it is smaller and dates from 1845, the work is a reproduction of the painting of 1834, which was originally owned by Uboldo, and then by Malinverni di Lugo Vicentino. The prototype is a painting with the same subject, commissioned by the king of Württemberg and completed in 1827.