The Question of Bathsheba’s eye

David and Bathsheba Begins


A highlight in 2007

Conservators face a quandary with Artemisia Gentileschi’s David and Bathsheba. If a damaged canvas by Artemisia Gentileschi needs extensive re-painting to fill patches of missing color, does it actually stop being a work by the artist? This was the dilemma that plagued the group of dedicated women who gazed upon Gentileschi’s damaged masterwork that had spent 363 years in the Pitti Palace’s attic. They solved the quandary by using neutral tones to recompose the image. That way, they could trick the eye into seeing ”the whole picture”. Even Bathsheba’s eye was not repainted—which caused a bit of a controversy when the work was unveiled after a year and a half in the lab. Because of her inability to ”see”, Bathsheba is a source of inspiration for AWA, and she has become a ”cover girl” in support of AWA’s most pressing issue: art by women must been seen, in order to be studied and appreciated.