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Ludovico Carracci: 'Susannah and the Elders'

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Ludovico was the cousin of Annibale Carracci and worked mostly in Bologna. This picture was painted for Cavaliere Tito Buosio of Reggio, and depicts an episode from the Old Testament apocrypha (Susannah: 15-24) which was also painted by Reni. As Susannah bathes in her garden, she is approached by two elders who, lusting after her, threaten to accuse her of adultery if she does not sleep with them. She refuses and is falsely accused by them, but her innocence is proved and prevents her from being stoned.

A compositionally complex picture, Carracci illustrates the moral contrast implicit in the subject by showing the virtuous Susannah bathed in light and the corrupt elders shrouded in shadow.

The painting was purchased from the Angerstein collection.


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