Susanna

Rembrandt van Rijn  (1606-1669)
Susanna, 1636
Oil on panel
18 5/8 x 15 ¼ in. (47.4 x 38.6 cm)
Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague
Acquired by Prince William V, 1768
Inv. no. 147

As related in the Book of Daniel, the virtuous Susanna is spied on, while bathing, by a pair of Babylonian elders. In this superlative portrayal of human emotion, the anguished heroine looks toward us with tear-filled eyes and reddened nose as she shields her naked body. Rembrandt’s masterful handling of paint alternates between extravagantly encrusted layers to model Susanna’s figure and thinly painted portions to describe the background.