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The picture is based on the Old Testament tradition. Everything happens in Babylon when the Jews ruled there. The woman of a wealthy local resident, Yakim, became the object of erotic fantasies of two old men.
To get what they wanted, the elders set up a beautiful trap in the garden, where she usually bathed unaccompanied by servants. When Susanna took off her clothes, the men ran out of hiding and began to blackmail the heroine. If she refuses to sleep with them, they promised to slander her, accusing her husband of treason, which was then called death.
The woman refused and was arrested on false charges. However, the prophet Daniel saved her from execution. Having interrogated the elders, he established contradictions in their testimonies and convicted him of a lie.
This plot was a good occasion for Renaissance artists to portray a naked female body. The scene depicted on the canvas is built around the moment when Susanna contemplates a pure and virgin nature.
The central figure of Suzanne and the Elders is a young and completely naked girl. Susanna has a white handkerchief in her hands, but she doesn’t seem to even try to cover her nakedness with them. The realism with which the woman’s nude was described and the strength of the granite thigh were decisive in the work of the Italian artist. The girl looks in the mirror, admiring her beauty.
Light gives the figure brightness and volume, highlighting it in all its splendor, emphasizing the intricate hairstyle, expensive jewelry on the girl and around her. The calmness of the heroine is contrasted with the agitation of the elders depicted at the edges of the picture.
The two men, placed on the left, are depicted in noble robes, as can be seen in the precious yellow-brown damask or in the bright red color of the tunic. A distinctive feature of the author is the almost woody composition of the upper human hands. The elders stand in ridiculous and awkward poses and look impatiently from the shelters.
The artist used the mirror in front of the heroine to enhance her illumination and highlight her white skin. Reception with a mirror also helped Tintoretto play with kortrasts of light and shadow. In general, the action depicted on the canvas looks like a backstage of the theater: a girl and a mirror on the stage, and behind the curtains of trees and climbing roses - everything else.
Tintoretto meticulously depicts the smallest items of Susanna's toilet: a scallop, a hairpin, an amphora for oils, gold and pearls. Although the viewer can only contemplate an episode of this story, knowledge of the ending can give the perception of the work a specific emotional effect.
Composition By Picture First Blooming Romadin