Preparatory Study for "The Judgement of Susannah", c. 1722
red chalk with touches of black chalk on laid paper
24 x 32.4 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 38550)
This is one of the initial compositional studies for a painting made at from the beginning of Boucher's career, when he was still a student of François Lemoyne (1688-1737), and now in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada. The subject, rarely approached in French painting, is an episode from an apocryphal text of the Old Testament. It depicts the moment when young Daniel intercedes to save Susannah from certain death, two old men having accused her of adultery. Although there are some noticeable differences between the drawing and the painting, the setting and the positioning of the characters in the sketch are close to those found in the final work.