- Reference number
- Susannah and the Elders
- 176 cm x 208 cm
- On display
- Royal Collection
A biblical scene from the Old Testament (Daniel 13, 1-63) showing Susannah bathing in the garden without noticing the presence of two judges, Archian and Sedechia, who demanded sexual favors. When she refused, the judges gave false testimony against her, accusing her off adultery. Daniel, who was to judge the case, showed the accusations to be false and punished the perjurers.
Though an example of Virtue, Susannah is paradoxically one of the most repeated nudes in Art History.
This is one of the finest works from the artist's youth and shows the influence of the Carracci and of Caravaggio. It is outstanding for the naturalness of its figures and the use of strong chiaroscuros. These characteristics make the action more dynamic, especially the figures of the judges, while the figure of Susannah radiates a classical serenity.
Along with Lot and his Daughters, which belongs to Patrimonio Nacional, the present work was painted for Cardinal Ludovisi. In 1664, Prince Niccoló Ludovisi gave both of them to King Felipe IV (1605-1665), who had them hung in the Monastery of El Escorial.