This episode is taken from the Old Testament Apocrypha (Susannah 15-24). As the virtuous and beautiful Susannah bathes in her garden, she is approached by two elders who, lusting after her, threaten to accuse her of adultery if she does not sleep with them. She refuses and is falsely accused by them, but her innocence is proved and prevents her from being stoned. Ludovico Carracci also painted a version of 'Susannah and the Elders'.
Since cleaning in 1984, it has been suggested that this work is wholly by Reni, and it may be the picture which is recorded in the Imperial collection in Vienna in 1660. Since the late 18th century it has been hung as a pendant to the artist's 'Lot and his Daughters leaving Sodom'.
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Susannah and the Elders Print
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