"The grounds of a Renaissance Palace with episodes from the story of David and Bathsheba"

Lucas Gassel1538

International Tennis Hall of Fame

International Tennis Hall of Fame
Newport, United States

Oil-on-panel framed painting of the grounds of a Renaissance Palace. Features several episodes from the Biblical story of David and Bathsheba with an extensive landscape beyond. At front and center are two men walking up stairs; before them is a man kneeling before King David with a letter for Bathsheba who is seen at the balcony of the Palace ar the upper right side; numerous members of the court are seen surrounding King David. Immediately behind the front scene is a Court Tennis court, with two players with strung racquets; there is a ball in midair, with two on the ground, and a basket at the center of the court near the rope "net"; five spectators sit on a bench on court (there are numerous other spectators looking over the walls to the court). At the lower left side is a garden scene and what appears to be a bocci court. In the middle ground (behind the Court Tennis court) there is a fenced in "garden" with a fountain and an archery range with two targets at either end and six men on the range. To the left of this is a bathing scene with numerous bathers, behind them are more gardens and numerous buildings. Behind the archery range/garden is a fenced labryinth. In the background are mountains and faint depictions of buildings with numerous birds in the sky.

Already an established game by the 16th century, court tennis was popular in monasteries and royal estates during the Renaissance. This painting may be the first illustration of a court divided by rope (a precursor to the net), as well as the earliest to depict play with strung racquets.

Lucas Gassel was a Flemish painter and draughtsman who oversaw a large workshop. His landscapes, which often feature panoramic mountainous views with an abundance of social detail, were popular. This example demonstrates Gassel’s remarkable ability to convey a complex narrative in two-dimensional space.


  • Title: "The grounds of a Renaissance Palace with episodes from the story of David and Bathsheba"
  • Creator: Lucas Gassel
  • Date Created: 1538
  • Location Created: Antwerp, The Netherlands
  • Physical Dimensions: (h) 64.77 cm x (w) 91.44 cm
  • Provenance: ITHF&M Acquisition, 2005
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: © International Tennis Hall of Fame
  • Medium: Oil on panel
  • Art Genre: Landscape
  • Depicted Topic: Tennis, Court Tennis

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