Inventory number
P00483
Author
Veronese, Paolo
Title
Susannah and the Elders
Chronology
Ca. 1580
Technique
Oil
Support
Canvas
Dimensions
151 cm x 177 cm
School
Italian
Theme
Religion
On display
Yes
Provenance
Royal Collection (Royal Palace of El Buen Retiro, Madrid, “pinturas recogidas de las Casas Arzobispales”, 1747, nº 425; New Royal Palace, Madrid, “antecámara del infante don Luis”, 1772, nº 425; New Royal Palace, Madrid, “pieza de comer”, 1794, nº 429; Royal Palace, Madrid, “pieza de comer”, 1814-1818, nº 425)

While bathing, Susannah is surprised by two old judges, Archian and Sedechius. She attempt to cover her nakedness, rejecting their dishonest propositions, as told in the Old Testament (Daniel 13, 1-63). The composition plays with contrasting colors to bring out Susannah's whiteness and fragility, as opposed to the dark clothing and bearded faces of the men. This is one of the most frequently depicted scenes in sixteenth-century Italian painting as its apparently moralizing tale allowed artists to offer their clients a favorite subject: female nudes.

This work is listed in the inventories of Madrid's Alcázar Palace in 1666, 1686 and 1700, and at the New Royal Palace in 1794. It was acquired by Velázquez in Venice.

 
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