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Title Susannah and the Elders
Collection Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery
Artist Attributed to after Gentileschi, Artemisia (Italian painter, 1593-1652 or 1653)
Date Earliest possibly 1622
Date Latest possibly 1660

According to the apocryphal story, Susannah was secretly observed bathing by two elders. For refusing their advances, Susannah was falsely charged with adultery and faced a death penalty. However, she was exonerated and her story became an example of the triumph of justice. This subject was frequently painted in the later sixteenth and seventeenth centuries for the possibility it offered in depicting the female nude.

This painting by an unknown artist is a copy of a work at Burghley House attributed to Artemisia Gentileschi (1622). Susannah was originally more naked than she appears today, as further drapery was added at a later date.

Current Accession Number NCM 1964-77
Subject figure; landscape; religion (Susannah and the Elders); buildings and gardens
Measurements 162.5 x 121.9 cm cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Given by Leon H. Willson 1964.
Publications Wright, C., Old Master Paintings in Britain: An Index of Continental Old Master Paintings Executed before c.1800 in Public Collections in the United Kingdom, London, 1976, p. 73; Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery: Fine Art Handlist, Nottingham, 1988, p. 41.

In correspondence to the museum, Ellis Waterhouse observed that the Nottingham painting is a copy of the work at Burghley House, which he attributed to Artemisia Gentileschi. However, current thinking queries the attribution of the Burghley painting to Artemisia.

The Nottingham version was discussed briefly in the Nottingham newspaper Evening Post and News, 23 November 1964.

Rights Owner Nottingham City Museums and Galleries: Nottingham Castle
Author Dr Angela Smith




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