BATHSHEBA READS A SUM­MONS TO THE ROYAL BED

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Visual Arts -

thorpe art gallery vis­ited Bow­more’s South Bris­bane apart­ment to choose from the works he had nom­i­nated as gifts. They found many art­works stacked up in an un­used en­suite of his apart­ment. They se­lected the Pi­casso be­cause it was by that artist and also be­cause they felt it was a sig­nif­i­cant ex­am­ple of lithog­ra­phy for the gallery.

Pi­casso’s Bathsheba at her Toi­let is a vivid print that fea­tures Bathsheba read­ing the let­ter from David in the com­fort of her lush bed­room set­ting. As she reads, her thoughts and feel­ings are un­clear. The print is signed by the artist in pen­cil in the lower right mar­gin.

‘‘ The work is sig­nif­i­cant be­cause Pi­casso is re­fer­ring to some­one else’s [Rem­brandt’s] work so closely yet it is so recog­nis­able as char­ac­ter­is­tic of Pi­casso,’’ says El­speth Cameron, the gallery’s arts li­brar­ian. ‘‘ There is much to con­sider in the way each artist de­picts women in his pic­ture.

‘‘ In Rem­brandt’s work the women are gen­tle Euro­peans, bathed in golden light. Pi­casso uses hu­man shapes that fill more of the space, stronger colours and dec­o­ra­tive pat­terns. The tents of the desert and the lands of the Mid­dle East are evoked.

‘‘ The black-clothed serv­ing woman has an un­fath­omable ex­pres­sion on her face. Does she dis­ap­prove of the whole af­fair? The story of Bathsheba and David shifts and changes.’’

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