The Wallace Collection

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Susanne and the Elders
  • Karl Gustav Klingstedt (1657 - 1734)
  • Susanne and the Elders
  • France
  • early 18th century
  • Miniature
  • Grisaille heightened with pink and red on vellum
  • Image size: 5.6 x 7.8 cm
    Frame size: 10.6 x 12.8 cm
  • M255
  • Boudoir Cabinet
Commentary
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • This work has been traditionally attributed to the Swedish artist Karl Gustav Klingstedt (1657-1734), who worked in Paris as a miniature painter from 1690. He specialised in gallant scenes of courtship. In the present painting, however, he took his subject from the History of Susanna in the Apocrypha. He depicts the moment when two Elders sprang out on the heroine while she bathed alone and unsuspecting in her garden.
    The scene is depicted in a very limited range of colour, dominated by grey. This palette is particularly effective in emphasizing the old age of the Elders, and thus the inappropriateness of their behaviour towards the young and innocent Susanna. The naked heroine is depicted in pink flesh tones, which singles her out from the grey tints of the grisaille- the red accent is repeated again in the cap of the Elder. The gushing fountain, masonery and foliage of the garden setting are as minutely rendered as the three figures themselves.