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Susanna and the Elders

Pablo Picasso, Susanna and the Elders, 1955. Oil on canvas, Picasso Museum, Málaga, Spain.

Picasso uses a classic model’s pose for this nude study called Susanna and the Elders. He has a very tenuous attachment to the narrative of Daniel 13. He has taken Susanna out of the garden and into a domestic setting. The elders seen in the background could be a painting hanging on the wall or they could be looking in a window. But he is joining centuries of artists that have moved away from depicting Susanna’s story as a moral tale of the faithful wife exonerated to using the subject of Susanna to objectify a female form for male voyeurs.

Pablo Picasso, Susanna and the Elders, 1955. Oil on canvas, Picasso Museum, Málaga, Spain.

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