Susanna e i Vecchioni (1552-1555)

Tintoretto, Jacopo (1518-1594)

Susanna e i Vecchioni (Susanna and the Elders)
Oil on canvas, 58 x 116 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid

This canvas is part of a group of six paintings: Susannah and the Elders (P386), Esther and Ahasuerus (P388) Judith and Holofernes (P391), The Visit of the Queen of Sheba to Solomon (P394), Joseph and the Wife of Putiphar (P395) and Moses Rescued from the Nile (P396). All have horizontal formats and the same palette, a general accentuation of surface drawing and a rhythm of curved forms that link the paintings to each other. They are accompanied by a central work with an oval format (The Purification of the Midianite Virgins, P393). Although Velázquez bought them together for Philip IV, they must not have been a set, originally. The horizontal works are much earlier than the oval one and of greater quality, as most of the latter is by Domenico’s hand. Clearly, these works were intended for a profane setting. The Bible stories have been stripped of their dramatic weight and are little more than a pretext for depicting exotic clothing, courtly ceremonies and bare flesh. Joseph and the Wife of Putiphar (P395) and Judith and Holofernes (P389) stand out as the best of the set, especially the beautifully modeled nude bodies of Putiphar’s wife and Holofernes. There is nothing similar to these paintings in the rest of Tintoretto’s oeuvre, which makes it difficult to date them with any certainty. The regular repetition of small calligraphic brushstrokes on the clothing’s tassels and hair, the leaves of the plants, and the female figures’ curls create an overall decorative rhythm that is not found in any of the artist’s other works (Text drawn from Falomir, M.: Tintoretto, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2007, pp. 177; 258-265). (MNP)


Tintoretto, Jacopo (1518-1594)
Susanna e i vecchioni
Kunsthistorisches MuseumVienna



Tintoretto, Jacopo (1518-1594)
Susanna e i vecchioni
Musée du LouvreParis