This painting by Pieter Lastman, one of the most significant Dutch history painters in the early seventeenth century, depicts a moment of treachery and deceit. The Old Testament King David, who sits in regal splendor, has committed adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, one of his most loyal soldiers. In order to disguise his misdeed, David holds a letter for Uriah to take to his commanding officer, Joab. The letter instructs Joab to send Uriah into the fiercest part of the battle so that he will be killed. Lastman, who taught both Jan Lievens and Rembrandt van Rijn how to paint dramatic subjects drawn from the Bible or mythology, based this painting on the biblical Book of Samuel (2 Samuel 11).

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