Susanna and the Elders (1647) by Rembrandt van Rijn

Susanna and the Elders - Rembrandt van Rijn - 1647

Artwork Information

TitleSusanna and the Elders
ArtistRembrandt van Rijn
Dimensions29 7/8 x 36 1/8 in. (76.6 x 92.7 cm)
Current LocationGemäldegalerie, Berlin
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About Susanna and the Elders


Susanna and the Elders is a captivating painting by the renowned Dutch artist Rembrandt van Rijn. Completed in 1647, it depicts the biblical story of Susanna from the Book of Daniel. Set against a dark background, the painting portrays Susanna during an unnerving moment when she is being approached by two elders while bathing. The oil on mahogany panel measures 77 x 93 cm and is currently housed at the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin.

Rembrandt painted the panel in three stages over twelve years, starting in 1635 after a drawing he made upon seeing his teacher’s work. The artists’ experimental brushwork together with his dramatic style give rise to an ethereal atmosphere that captures both discomfort and intrigue. This unique approach distinguishes Rembrandt’s interpretation from other contemporary depictions of Susanna and the Elders.

The subject matter comes from Apocrypha and offers multiple interpretations due to its themes related to voyeurism, slander, power relations among others commonly open to individual interpretation. With techniques like impasto that adds texture, Rembrandt’s rendering offers opportunities for unique psychological readings as well as art history scholarship research – inviting reflection on various facets of this thought-provoking artwork.

In summary, Susanna And The Elders by Rembrandt Van Rijn is a significant Baroque piece that showcases experimental artistry techniques together with visually striking composition and dramatism elements reflective of its era’s common themes seen within many Baroque works.


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