Susanna and the Elders
On my trip to the Norton Simon Museum, a painting labeled Susanna and the Elders, Flemish women Jan Massys, really stood out to me. The specifications of this oil on canvas work of art are 42 x 77-1/2 in. (106.7 x 196.9 cm). The painting was made in 1564, during the Renaissance, and portrays an example of the religious tension of that time and reflects the era after the start of the Reformation. My first thought when gazing upon Susanna and the Elders bad things are about to happen; there is two old men hiding behind a planter box and appear to be conspiring an evil plot. These men are dressed in red, which in this case, it must represent last that they are feeling toward Susanna. The focal point is Susanna looking as though she is getting ready for bed or perhaps to take a bath. Also, she is dressed in very nice cloths so appears to be of noble stature. I should also not that she is conntroposto in her posture and the way her cloths fall on to her body. To the right, there is two women that look as if they are trying to lure her to safety, away from the creepy men behind her. Perhaps they are her loyal servants. This all appears to be taking place in a fancy garden which gives me the idea that she vulnerable in that she is secluded. The men must have planned ahead to sneak up on her out here rather than around other people furthering my suspicion of their cruel intentions. One last thing I noticed was the little statue in the bottom right corner; however, I can’t make much sense of it. I know it means something, but I just don’t get it. If you follow the lines of the stone benches they lead you to a point just beneath Susanna’s head which suggest the use of perspective. The use of lines is evident again when looking at the fine detail in the trees that surround this scene. On, a side note, the tree that the old man is holding on to appears to be minerature in size, as if her is this evil giant. Perhaps this is meant to symbolize their...
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