Cornelis Cornelisz. van Haarlem

Susanna and the Elders

c. 1599
Susanna, caught unaware at her bath, is threatened by the two men who demand she give in to their lust. The popular subject was an opportunity for artists to depict emotions – Susanna’s shock and fear, the men’s lust – and to explore female beauty. Unexpectedly, Cornelis portrayed himself as the man to the right. Rather than implying the artist’s self-identification with the guilty Elder, it instead suggests how the troubling subject matter had been tamed – that the story was no more than a pretext for the display of artistic skill.
Title
Susanna and the Elders
Date
c. 1599
Medium
Painting
Materials
oil on canvas
Dimensions
98.5 x 87 cm
Nationality
Dutch
Credit line
Purchased 1991
Accession number
35887

More from Cornelis Cornelisz. van Haarlem