Looking anxious, young Susanna tries to evade a sexual assault. This scene from the Old Testament shows two old village judges who are about to ambush her while she takes a bath in her garden. Should she disobey them, they would accuse her of adultery, which is punishable by death. Full of trust in God, she still refuses and is rewarded for it: thanks to divine inspiration, the young prophet Daniel recognises her innocence and convicts the real culprits.
With psychological finesse, the artist focuses the narrative on the monumental figures, their body language, facial expressions and gestures. Susanna’s immaculate body contrasts with the coarse features and rough skin of the dressed elderly. Her nakedness represents innocence and defencelessness – and yet is being displayed to the viewer.