The Book of Daniel, Susanna and the Elders
There dwelt a man in Babylon, called Joacim:
And he took a wife, whose name was Susanna, the daughter of
Chelcias, a very fair woman, and one that feared the Lord.
Her parents also were righteous, and taught their daughter
according to the law of Moses.
Now Joacim was a great rich man, and had a fair garden
joining unto his house: and to him resorted the Jews; because he
was more honourable than all others.
The same year were appointed two of the ancients of the
people to be judges, such as the Lord spake of, that wickedness
came from Babylon from ancient judges, who seemed to govern the
These kept much at Joacim's house: and all that had any suits
in law came unto them.
Now when the people departed away at noon, Susanna went into
her husband's garden to walk.
And the two elders saw her going in every day, and walking;
so that their lust was inflamed toward her.
And they perverted their own mind, and turned away their
eyes, that they might not look unto heaven, nor remember just
And albeit they both were wounded with her love, yet durst
not one shew another his grief.
For they were ashamed to declare their lust, that they
desired to have to do with her.
Yet they watched diligently from day to day to see her.
And the one said to the other, Let us now go home: for it is
So when they were gone out, they parted the one from the
other, and turning back again they came to the same place; and
after that they had asked one another the cause, they
acknowledged their lust: then appointed they a time both
together, when they might find her alone.
And it fell out, as they watched a fit time, she went in as
before with two maids only, and she was desirous to wash herself
in the garden: for it was hot.
And there was no body there save the two elders, that had hid
themselves, and watched her.
Then she said to her maids, Bring me oil and washing balls,
and shut the garden doors, that I may wash me.
And they did as she bade them, and shut the garden doors, and
went out themselves at privy doors to fetch the things that she
had commanded them: but they saw not the elders, because they
Now when the maids were gone forth, the two elders rose up,
and ran unto her, saying,
Behold, the garden doors are shut, that no man can see us,
and we are in love with thee; therefore consent unto us, and lie
If thou wilt not, we will bear witness against thee, that a
young man was with thee: and therefore thou didst send away thy
maids from thee.
Then Susanna sighed, and said, I am straitened on every side:
for if I do this thing, it is death unto me: and if I do it not
I cannot escape your hands.
It is better for me to fall into your hands, and not do it,
than to sin in the sight of the Lord.
With that Susanna cried with a loud voice: and the two elders
cried out against her.
Then ran the one, and opened the garden door.
So when the servants of the house heard the cry in the
garden, they rushed in at the privy door, to see what was done
But when the elders had declared their matter, the servants
were greatly ashamed: for there was never such a report made of
And it came to pass the next day, when the people were
assembled to her husband Joacim, the two elders came also full
of mischievous imagination against Susanna to put her to death;
And said before the people, Send for Susanna, the daughter of
Chelcias, Joacim's wife. And so they sent.
So she came with her father and mother, her children, and all
Now Susanna was a very delicate woman, and beauteous to
And these wicked men commanded to uncover her face, (for she
was covered) that they might be filled with her beauty.
Therefore her friends and all that saw her wept.
Then the two elders stood up in the midst of the people, and
laid their hands upon her head.
And she weeping looked up toward heaven: for her heart
trusted in the Lord.
And the elders said, As we walked in the garden alone, this
woman came in with two maids, and shut the garden doors, and
sent the maids away.
Then a young man, who there was hid, came unto her, and lay
Then we that stood in a corner of the garden, seeing this
wickedness, ran unto them.
And when we saw them together, the man we could not hold: for
he was stronger than we, and opened the door, and leaped out.
But having taken this woman, we asked who the young man was,
but she would not tell us: these things do we testify.
Then the assembly believed them as those that were the elders
and judges of the people: so they condemned her to death.
Then Susanna cried out with a loud voice, and said, O
everlasting God, that knowest the secrets, and knowest all
things before they be:
Thou knowest that they have borne false witness against me,
and, behold, I must die; whereas I never did such things as
these men have maliciously invented against me.
And the Lord heard her voice.
Therefore when she was led to be put to death, the Lord
raised up the holy spirit of a young youth whose name was
Who cried with a loud voice, I am clear from the blood of
Then all the people turned them toward him, and said, What
mean these words that thou hast spoken?
So he standing in the midst of them said, Are ye such fools,
ye sons of Israel, that without examination or knowledge of the
truth ye have condemned a daughter of Israel?
Return again to the place of judgment: for they have borne
false witness against her.
Wherefore all the people turned again in haste, and the
elders said unto him, Come, sit down among us, and shew it us,
seeing God hath given thee the honour of an elder.
Then said Daniel unto them, Put these two aside one far from
another, and I will examine them.
So when they were put asunder one from another, he called one
of them, and said unto him, O thou that art waxen old in
wickedness, now thy sins which thou hast committed aforetime are
come to light.
For thou hast pronounced false judgment and hast condemned
the innocent and hast let the guilty go free; albeit the Lord
saith, The innocent and righteous shalt thou not slay.
Now then, if thou hast seen her, tell me, Under what tree
sawest thou them companying together? Who answered, Under a
And Daniel said, Very well; thou hast lied against thine own
head; for even now the angel of God hath received the sentence
of God to cut thee in two.
So he put him aside, and commanded to bring the other, and
said unto him, O thou seed of Chanaan, and not of Juda, beauty
hath deceived thee, and lust hath perverted thine heart.
Thus have ye dealt with the daughters of Israel, and they for
fear companied with you: but the daughter of Juda would not
abide your wickedness.
Now therefore tell me, Under what tree didst thou take them
companying together? Who answered, Under an holm tree.
Then said Daniel unto him, Well; thou hast also lied against
thine own head: for the angel of God waiteth with the sword to
cut thee in two, that he may destroy you.
With that all the assembly cried out with a loud voice, and
praised God, who saveth them that trust in him.
And they arose against the two elders, for Daniel had
convicted them of false witness by their own mouth:
And according to the law of Moses they did unto them in such
sort as they maliciously intended to do to their neighbour: and
they put them to death. Thus the innocent blood was saved the
Therefore Chelcias and his wife praised God for their
daughter Susanna, with Joacim her husband, and all the kindred,
because there was no dishonesty found in her.
From that day forth was Daniel had in great reputation in the
sight of the people.
According to the Brittanica, Orazio Gentileschi (1562-1639) whose,
Orazio had a daughter named Artemisia (1593-1652/53) who was also a painter. According to the Brittanica,original name ORAZIO LOMI Italian Baroque painter, one of the more important painters who came under the influence of Caravaggio and who was one of the more successful interpreters of his style.
Gentileschi first studied with his half brother Aurelio Lomi. At some time in the late 1570s or early 1580s he went to Rome, where, with the landscape painter Agostino Tassi, he painted frescoes in churches of Santa Maria Maggiore, San Giovanni Laterano, and Santa Nicola in Carcere from about 1590 to 1600, executing figures for Tassi's landscapes. In the first years of the 17th century Gentileschi came under the influence of Caravaggio, also in Rome at the time. His paintings of this period (e.g., "David and Goliath," 1610?, and "St. Cecilia and the Angel," 1610?) employ Caravaggio's use of dramatic, unconventional gesture and monumental composition, his uncompromising realism and contemporary representation of figure types, and to some extent his strong chiaroscuro, or light-and-dark contrast. Shortly afterward Gentileschi developed a Tuscan lyricism foreign to Caravaggio's almost brutal vitality, a lighter palette, and a more precise treatment reminiscent of his Mannerist beginnings. From 1621 to 1623 Gentileschi was in Genoa, where he painted his masterpiece, "The Annunciation" (1623), a work of consummate grace that shows a weakening of Caravaggio's influence. The composition still depends on dramatic gestures, here of the Virgin and the angel, and there is still a strong immediacy to the incident and an absence of idealization. The mood, however, is more restrained and lyrical than in his earlier works, the colours are light, and the earlier chiaroscuro is absent.
After a stay in France, Gentileschi traveled to England in 1626 at the invitation of King Charles I; he remained there as court painter for the rest of his life, his work becoming increasingly conventional and decorative. His last major work is an ambitious series of ceiling paintings for the Queen's House, Greenwich, painted probably after 1635, and now in Marlborough House, London.
Italian painter, daughter of Orazio Gentileschi, who was a major follower of the revolutionary Baroque painter Caravaggio. She was an important second-generation proponent of Caravaggio's dramatic realism. A pupil of her father and of his friend, the landscape painter Agostino Tassi, she painted at first in a style indistinguishable from her father's somewhat lyrical interpretation of Caravaggio's example. Her first known work is "Susanna and the Elders" (1610), an accomplished work long attributed to her father. She was raped by Tassi, and, when he did not fulfill his promise to marry her, Orazio Gentileschi in 1612 brought him to trial. During that event she herself was forced to give evidence under torture. She married a Florentine shortly after the trial and joined the Academy of Design in Florence in 1616. While in Florence she began to develop her own distinct style. Her colours are more brilliant than her father's, and she continued to employ the tenebrism made popular by Caravaggio long after her father had abandoned that style. Although her compositions were graceful, she was perhaps the most violent of all the Caravaggisti; she illustrated such subjects as the story from the Apocrypha of Judith, the Jewish heroine, beheading Holofernes, an invading general.
Artemisia Gentileschi was in Rome for a time and also in Venice. About 1630 she moved to Naples and in 1638-39 visited her father in London. There she painted many portraits and quickly surpassed her father's fame. Later, probably in 1640 or 1641, she settled in Naples, but little is known of the final years of her life.
of Painting or "La Pittura" 1630
Oil on Canvas
Self Portrait of the Artist
with Sisters and Governess. 1555
(The Chess Game)
oil on canvas, 27"x37"
Nardowe Museum, Poznan, Poland
|Form: This self portrait demonstrates her skill as a
painter. The angle from which she chose to paint herself is an awkward
one and she almost certainly had to set up several mirrors in order to
bounce her reflection around until she was able to see herself. She
uses many of the standard formal schemas of Caravaggio's work, tenebrism,
a low key earth toned pallete and heightened chiaroscuro.
Like Caravaggio she also has a fine command of painting drapery.
Iconography: According to the Webgalleries website,
An example of Gentileschi's mature work, this painting depicts the artist not only in a self portrait but also as Pittura, the originator of the art of painting. Artemisia has given us her image, painted in profile, and the attributes of the personification of painting in accordance with Ripa's Iconologia. Around her neck, she wears the golden chain and the mask of imitation. Her disheveled hair depicts the divine frenzy of artistic temperament, and the handling of color on her dress shows Artemisia's skill as an artist. Although other artists have depicted Pittura, Artemisia's portrait is unique because only a female artist would be able to depict herself as the allegory of painting. Until this time, the male artists who worked this theme had to add a female figurehead to represent Ripa's Pittura.Artemisia also updates her depiction almost with the same use of genre as Caravaggio. In this image she dresses her allegorical Pittura as a 17th century woman. Context: Artemisia self portrait is interesting because her depiction of herself is quite different than one might expect a female painter to create. Comparing her self portrait against Sofonisba Anguissola's may give you some insight as to how her past has influenced her life.
Judith Slaying Holofernes c1620
Judith Beheading Holofernes
Oil on Canvas
Uffizi Gallery, Florence
Caravaggio, Judith Slaying Holofernes c1600
Judith with the head of Holofernes c1625
Detroit, Institute of Art
Italian Baroque Gentileschi's images feel "real." The postures and movement in Gentileschi's images are fluid and naturalistic. One feels the struggle the two women face in trying to escape. Unlike Caravaggio's painting, Judith and Holofernes, Gentileschi's image shows powerful women. In Caravaggio's the servant is an old woman as opposed to the young beautiful and powerful maid accompanying Judith in Gentileshi's images.
Make sure you read Mencher, Liaisons 197-214 Judith and Holofernes and Susanna and the Elders
It has been argued that this painting expresses Artemisia's psychological revenge on Tassi. It is, in fact, one of several canvas' which Artemisia based the Judith theme, but the subject matter was a popular one and was treated by many artists throughout the centuries. What makes this painting unique, however, is Artemisia's rendering of Judith as a strong and capable heroine. While many depictions of Judith show her after the slaying of Holofernes, Gentileschi gives us Judith in the act of killing the man. The subject matter is taken from the Book of Judith whereby Judith liberates her people by slaying the evil tyrant. She has entered the enemy camp under the guise of seducing Holofernes and when he falls asleep she hacks off his head with his sword. Carrying back his head in a bag, she presents it to her people, who then go on to defeat the Assyrians. The dark background and single source of light add psychological tension and drama to the scene and cause it to play out beyond the boarders of the canvas. We, as spectators, have become witness to a murder.
Gentileschi, Susanna and the Elders c1640
|Make sure you read Mencher, Liaisons 197-214 Susanna and the Elders
al.le.go.ry n, pl -ries [ME allegorie, fr. L allegoria, fr. Gk allegoria, fr. allegorein to speak figuratively, fr. allos other + -egorein to speak publicly, fr. agora assembly--more at else, agora] (14c) 1: the expression by means of symbolic fictional figures and actions of truths or generalizations about human existence; also: an instance (as in a story or painting) of such expression 2: a symbolic representation: emblem 2 apoc.ry.pha n pl but sing or pl in constr [ML, fr. LL, neut. pl. of apocryphus secret, not canonical, fr. Gk apokryphos obscure, fr. apokryptein to hide away, fr. apo- + kryptein to hide--more at crypt] (14c) 1: writings or statements of dubious authenticity 2 cap a: books included in the Septuagint and Vulgate but excluded from the Jewish and Protestant canons of the Old Testament b: early Christian writings not included in the New Testament
apoc.ry.phal adj (1590) 1: of doubtful authenticity: spurious 2 often cap: of or resembling the Apocrypha syn see fictitious -- apoc.ry.phal.ly adv -- apoc.ry.phal.ness n
ar.ca.di.an adj, often cap (1589) 1: idyllically pastoral; esp: idyllically innocent, simple, or untroubled 2 a: of or relating to Arcadia or the Arcadians b: of or relating to Arcadian Ar.ca.di.an n (1590) 1 often not cap: a person who lives a simple quiet life 2: a native or inhabitant of Arcadia 3: the dialect of ancient Greek used in Arcadia
According to the Brittanica,
Modern Greek ARKADHÍA, mountainous region of the central Peloponnesus of ancient Greece. The pastoral character of Arcadian life together with its isolation partially explains why it was represented as a paradise in Greek and Roman bucolic poetry and in the literature of the Renaissance. The region is not exactly coextensive with the present-day nomós (department) of Arkadhía, which extends on the east to the Gulf of Argolis. The capital of the nomos is Trípolis.
genre n [F, fr. MF, kind, gender--more at gender] (1770) 1: a category of artistic, musical, or literary composition characterized by a particular style, form, or content 2: kind, sort 3: painting that depicts scenes or events from everyday life usu. realistically he.do.nism n [Gk hedone pleasure; akin to Gk hedys sweet--more at sweet] (1856) 1: the doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the sole or chief good in life 2: a way of life based on or suggesting the principles of hedonism -- he.do.nist n -- he.do.nis.tic adj -- he.do.nis.ti.cal.ly adv
neo.clas.sic or neo.clas.si.cal adj (1877): of, relating to, or constituting a revival or adaptation of the classical esp. in literature, music, art, or architecture -- neo.clas.si.cism n -- neo.clas.si.cist n or adj
pas.to.ral adj [ME, fr. L pastoralis, fr. pastor herdsman] (15c) 1 a (1): of, relating to, or composed of shepherds or herdsmen (2): devoted to or based on livestock raising b: of or relating to the countryside: not urban c: portraying or expressive of the life of shepherds or country people esp. in an idealized and conventionalized manner <~ poetry> d: pleasingly peaceful and innocent: idyllic 2 a: of or relating to spiritual care or guidance esp. of a congregation b: of or relating to the pastor of a church -- pas.to.ral.ly adv -- pas.to.ral.ness n ²pastoral n (1584) 1 a: a literary work (as a poem or play) dealing with shepherds or rural life in a usu. artificial manner and typically drawing a contrast between the innocence and serenity of the simple life and the misery and corruption of city and esp. court life b: pastoral poetry or drama c: a rural picture or scene d: pastorale 1b 2: crosier 1 3: a letter of a pastor to his charge: as a: a letter addressed by a bishop to his diocese b: a letter of the house of bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church to be read in each parish
ped.er.ast n [Gk paiderastes, lit., lover of boys, fr. paid- ped- + erastes lover, fr. erasthai to love--more at eros] (ca. 1736): one that practices anal intercourse esp. with a boy -- ped.er.as.tic adj -- ped.er.as.ty n
rib.ald n [ME, fr. MF ribaut, ribauld wanton, rascal, fr. riber to be wanton, of Gmc origin; akin to OHG riban to be wanton, lit., to rub] (13c): a ribald person ²ribald adj (1508) 1: crude, offensive <~ language> 2: characterized by or using coarse indecent humor syn see coarse
ten.e.brism n, often cap [L tenebrae darkness] (1954): a style of painting esp. associated with the Italian painter Caravaggio and his followers in which most of the figures are engulfed in shadow but some are dramatically illuminated by a concentrated beam of light usu. from an identifiable source -- ten.e.brist n or adj, often cap
according to the Brittanica,
"in the history of Western painting, the use of extreme contrasts of light and dark in figurative compositions to heighten their dramatic effect. (The term is derived from the Latin tenebrae, "darkness.") In tenebrist paintings the figures are often portrayed against a background of intense darkness, but the figures themselves are illuminated by a bright, searching light that sets off their three-dimensional forms by a harsh but exquisitely controlled chiaroscuro . The technique was introduced by the Italian painter Caravaggio (1571?-1610) and was taken up in the early 17th century by painters influenced by him, including the French painter Georges de La Tour, the Dutch painters Gerrit van Honthorst and Hendrik Terbrugghen, and the Spanish painter Francisco de Zurbarán."
trompe l’oeil - (French: "deceive the eye"), in painting, the representation of an object with such verisimilitude as to deceive the viewer concerning the material reality of the object. This idea appealed to the ancient Greeks who were newly emancipated from the conventional stylizations of earlier art. Zeuxis, for example, reportedly painted such realistic grapes that birds tried to eat them. The technique was also popular with Roman muralists. Although trompe l’oeil never achieved the status of a major artistic aim, from the early Renaissance on, European painters occasionally fostered illusionism by painting false frames out of which the contents of a still life or portrait appeared to spill, or by creating window-like images suggesting actual openings in the wall or ceiling. (Brittanica)