Francisco de Goya

Susanna and the Old Men (Susana y los viejos)

Susanna and the Old Men (Susana y los viejos)
Datos Generales
1824 - 1825
Private collection
5.5 x 5.5 cm
Técnica y soporte
Watercolor on ivory
Reconocimiento de la autoría de Goya
Undisputed work
Private collection
Ficha: realización/revisión
05 May 2010 / 29 Aug 2022

See Maja and Celestina.

This work was in the collection of Edward Habich, in Cassel. It was put up for auction in Stuttgart in 1899, together with the rest of the miniatures owned by the collector. After the sale it went to form part of a private collection in New York, until 1966, when it entered the collection which currently houses it.

Análisis artístico

For the artistic and technical analysis of the complete series, see Maja and Celestina.

The Old Testament story of Susanna and the Elders is set in Babylon, to where the Jewish people had been deported. Susanna was the wife of a rich man, Joakim, who often invited Hebrews into his home. One day, when the beautiful Susanna was getting ready to bathe in the garden of her luxurious house and whilst Joakim was away, two of the judges of Israel, both of whom secretly desired the woman, appeared and threatened to accuse her of committing adultery with a young man if she would not sleep with them. She refused to be blackmailed but was judged and condemned to be stoned to death. At this point, Daniel appeared and, after cross-examining the judges, the tables were turned, with the two lecherous old men being put to death in Susanna's place.

Here in Goya's miniature, Joakim's wife is shown almost naked, only partially covering herself with a bluish cloth. She is seated, seen in profile, and her head is lowered in an introverted, thoughtful attitude. She does not seem to be aware of the presence of the two old men, who are staring at her lasciviously from just behind her. The flesh of Susanna's body is ivory white, in contrast with the black background. She is squeezed into the composition and it almost seems as though her lowered head is a consequence of the reduced dimensions of the support, a necessary step to make room for the rest of her body. The elders, with their puffy faces, wear blue tunics and have rosy, flushed faces.

  • Goya and his times
    The Royal Academy of Arts
    cat. 66
  • Goya. El Capricho y la Invención. Cuadros de gabinete, bocetos y miniaturas
    Museo Nacional del Prado
    from November 18th 1993 to February 15th 1994. Exhibited also at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, March 18th to June 12th 1994 and The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, July 16th to October 16th 1994, consultant editors Manuela B. Mena Marqués and Juliet Wilson-Bareau
  • Goya. La imagen de la mujer
    Museo Nacional del Prado
    from October 30th 2001 to February 10th 2002. Exhibitied also at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, March 10th to June 2nd 2002, consultant editor Francisco Calvo Serraller
  • SAYRE, Eleanor
    Goya’s Bordeaux miniatures, , , Boston, 1966
    Museum of Fine Arts Boston BulletinLXIV, 337
    p. 116, cat. 10
  • GASSIER, Pierre y WILSON, Juliet
    Vie et ouvre de Francisco de Goya
    ParísOffice du livre
    p. 362, cat. 1682
  • vol. I, p. 386, cat. 746
  • ANGELIS, Rita de
    L’opera pittorica completa di Goya
    p. 136, cat. 673
    Francisco de Goya, 4 vols.
    ZaragozaCaja de Ahorros de Zaragoza, Aragón y Rioja
    vol. IV, p. 219
  • MENA, Manuela B. y WILSON-BAREAU, Juliet (comisarias)
    Goya. El capricho y la invención. Cuadros de gabinete, bocetos y miniaturas
    MadridMuseo del Prado
    pp. 324-325, 380, cat. 99 y p. 325 (il.)
  • CALVO SERRALLER, Francisco (comisario)
    Goya, la imagen de la mujer
    MadridMuseo Nacional del Prado y Fundación Amigos del Museo del Prado
    p. 238, cat. 59 y p. 239 (il.)
Enlaces externos
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