Adam Elsheimer (German, 15781610)
Gouache on brown paper; 2 15/16 x 2 13/16 in. (7.5 x 7.2 cm)
Purchase, Louis V. Bell Fund, Leon D. Black Gift, and Dodge Fund, 1997 (1997.373)
Seated alone in deep shadow, this partially draped young woman might be Bathsheba, whom King David spied upon and seduced, or Susanna, who was caught bathing in her garden by two lascivious church elders. Diminutive here, she appears enormously vulnerable. Adam Elsheimer was the most singular and influential German artist to follow Dürer. It was especially the poetic atmosphere and the meticulous, miniature-like execution, as one can see in this very fine gouache, that were much admired by the next generation of artists, among which were Peter Paul Rubens and Rembrandt.