(b. 1528, Verona, d. 1588, Venezia)

Susanna and the Elders

Oil on canvas, 140 x 280 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

In the last decade of his life Veronese painted a major cycle of religious pictures made up of ten oblong canvases of equal size inspired by stories from the Old and New Testament, known to scholars as the Duke of Buckingham series, after the name of the nobleman who owned them in the early seventeenth century. The canvases, now divided among the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, which has seven of them, the National Gallery in Washington (one) and the Narodni Galerie in Prague (two), were probably intended for a convent. They are the following: Lot and his Daughters Leaving Sodom, Hagar in the Wilderness, Rebecca at the Well, Susanna and the Elders, Esther and Ahasver, Adoration of the Shepherds, Christ and the Centurion, Christ and the Adulteress, Christ and the Woman of Samaria, and Christ Washing the Feet of the Disciples.

The striking feature of the series, to which the canvas Susanna and the Elders belongs, is the unusual monumentality of the figures, most of them located in the foreground.