Life and Art of Artemisia Gentileschi > Susanna and the Elders > Next Painting

Susanna and the Elders

1622

Oil on canvas

1.615m by 1.23m

The Burghley House Collection,
Stamford (Lincolnshire), England.

The Painting.

This version of the Susanna theme is so atypical of Artemisia's style that its attribution to her has been questioned. Susanna's posture and facial expression are nothing like her early version, instead being more like the seductive versions of Susanna more typically done by male artists.

X-rays reveal that most of the left side of the painting has been extensively repainted in a style quite different to Artemisia. Her signature is unlike any of her usual signatures, suggesting that it was added later by someone else after her original signature had been over-painted.

Has the painting been changed with Artemisia's knowledge and consent, and if so, by who? Or is it by Artemisia's hand at all or is someone cashing in her fame and created a fake.

The Artist's Life.

It is possible that Artemisia was asked by a patron to make changes to the painting so that it was in a more popular style. If this is the case, she probably enlisted the help of another artist to help with the background landscape and the fountain to the left. As she was in Rome at the time of this work, it is likely (on stylistic and technical grounds) that she used the services of Guercino. Ironically, Guercino often assisted Agostino Tassi, and this may be have been done deliberately by her to annoy Tassi.




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