The Judgement of Susannah, c. 1720-1721
oil on canvas
82.5 x 145.2 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 38549)
This is Boucher's first recorded work, executed when he was about seventeen years old. The story of Susannah is found at the end of the Book of Daniel in the Apocrypha to the Old Testament. The Babylonian heroine was sentenced to death after being falsely accused of adultery by two Elders (whose spurned sexual advances are well documented in the history of painting). In this work, Susannah is saved by the young prophet Daniel, who enters the composition, running, at the lower right. Daniel goes on to judge the same men who bore false witness against her; they will themselves eventually be put to death.
Frame: carved wood, gilded. France, first half 18th century