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Rembrandt

Susanna and the elders, ca. 1635-1647; 1647 gedateerd
Berlin, Gemäldegalerie (Staatliche Museen zu [..]
Bredius 1935, no. 516
<a class="recordlink artists" href="/explore/artists/66219" title="Rembrandt"><span class="text">Rembrandt</span></a>
Illustration number 1001198494
Dimensions: 650x537 pixels
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<a class="recordlink artists" href="/explore/artists/66219" title="Rembrandt"><span class="text">Rembrandt</span></a>
Illustration number 0000271089
Dimensions: 650x532 pixels
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<a class="recordlink artists" href="/explore/artists/66219" title="Rembrandt"><span class="text">Rembrandt</span></a>
Illustration number 0000090663
Dimensions: 650x568 pixels
License undetermined
<a class="recordlink artists" href="/explore/artists/66219" title="Rembrandt"><span class="text">Rembrandt</span></a>
Illustration number 0000118478
Dimensions: 9720x8037 pixels
License undetermined
<a class="recordlink artists" href="/explore/artists/66219" title="Rembrandt"><span class="text">Rembrandt</span></a>
Illustration number 0000090662
Dimensions: 650x568 pixels
License undetermined
provenance
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Object information
Object category
painting
Support/medium
panel
The type of wood is identified as "peltogyne venosa" or purpleheart (see The Rembrandt Database: http://www.rembrandtdatabase.org/Rembrandt/painting/49190/susanna-harassed-by-the-elders/document/17977). In the mid-17th century, various types of South American wood were commonly used to make packing cases for sugar cones. The panel of "Susanna and the elders" was most probably part of such a crate (Klein 1988, p. 40-41). This would identify the holes along the top and bottom edges of the panel as peg holes, necessary for the crates's construction (Corpus of Rembrandt paintings 1982-, vol. 5 (2011), no. V I, p. 325).
Shape/dimensions
rectangle (landscape format) 76,6 x 92,8 cm
Signature/inscription
Information about the signature, dating, inscription or any other mark on the front or back of the art work
  • signed and dated lower right: Rembrandt. f. .647
  • resin seal on the back: Königliche Museen Berlin
    on the backside: red seal with the Prussian eagle and the inscription "Königliche Museen Berlin" [Royal Museums Berlin] (in use since the establishment of the royal museums in 1877, probably until nationalization in 1918)
  • label on the back: S.L. No. / M-96/The Metropolitan Museum of Art / LOAN EXHIBITION
    on the backside: pre-printed paper label with inscription: "S.L. No. / M-96?The Metropolitan Museum of Art/ LOAN EXHIBITION"
  • label on the back: TR 9006 / 67
    on the backside: rectangular label with printed red framing line, filled out with typewriter: "TR 9006 / 67"; Wiesbaden label
  • label on the back: 26
    on the backside: octagonal label with blue framing, handwriting in blue ink "26"; probably an exhibition label
  • label on the back: Zollamtlich abgefertigt/ZOLLAMT / WIESBADEN / HAUPTBAHNHOF
    on the backside: rectangular label, printed in green: "Zollamtlich abgefertigt"; a green printed line; a round stamp: "ZOLLAMT / WIESBADEN / HAUPTBAHNHOF" and a coat of arms with an animal (roaring lion?)
  • label on the back: 7 x > 4 cm
    on the backside: rectangular label with remnants of an inscription: "7 x > 4 cm"
  • label on the back
    on the backside: rectangular label with remnants of an inscription in red crayon
  • label on the back: > 4,2 x (?)
    on the backside: rectangular label with remnants of an inscription: "> 4,2 x (?)"
  • label on the back: W 234, Siemens II 144 mAs, 828 E, 2.4.32
    on the backside: a sketch of a square, in the upper left and upper right a smaller square and X-ray note: "W 234, Siemens II 144 mAs, 828 E, 2.4.32"
  • label on the back: RÖNTGENAUFNAHME/Prof. Wehlte, Berlin/28.1.41/m. 625 - 630, 37 kv, 80 mAsek
    on the backside: rectangular X-ray note, printed in red: RÖNTGENAUFNAHME, printed in black: Prof. Wehlte, Berlin, red stamp: 28.1.41, handwritten in black: m. 625 - 630, 37 kv, 80 mAsek
  • label on the back: Staatliche Museen Berlin – Gemäldegalerie / Inventar-Nr. / Katalog-Nr, [handwritten:] III / 373, 828 E, Susanna und d. beiden Alten
    on the backside: pre-printed rectangular inventory label: "Staatliche Museen Berlin – Gemäldegalerie / Inventar-Nr. / Katalog-Nr, [handwritten:] III / 373, 828 E, Susanna und d. beiden Alten"; in use 1918-1945
  • label on the back: STAATLICHE MUSEEN BERLIN / GEMÄLDEGALERIE KAT.-NR. [with typewriter]: 828 E, Rembrandt, Susanna und die Alten
    on the backside: pre-printed rectangular inventory label: "STAATLICHE MUSEEN BERLIN / GEMÄLDEGALERIE KAT.-NR. [with typewriter]: 828 E, Rembrandt, Susanna und die Alten"; in use 1918-1945
  • label on the back: Staatliche Museen Preußischer Kulturbesitz / GEMÄLDEGALERIE BERLIN / Kat. Nr. [with typewriter] 29 E, Rembrandt, Harmensz van Rijn, Susanna und die beiden Alten
    on the backside: pre-printed inventory label with framing and horizontal line: "Staatliche Museen Preußischer Kulturbesitz / GEMÄLDEGALERIE BERLIN / Kat. Nr. [with typewriter] 29 E, Rembrandt, Harmensz van Rijn, Susanna und die beiden Alten"; Dahlem, from 1990
Current attribution
Rembrandt
Date
Exact or approximate dating of the described art work; the search parameters adopted for this art work in this database, are found in brackets.
c. 1635-1647; dated 1647 (1635 - 1647)
This painting has a complex genesis with radical changes in the composition. In themselves, radical changes do not necessarily indicate a long working process. However, there is an archival document , which implies that the painting was considered to be completed in or by 1642. In 1659 Adriaen Banck declared he bought a painting depicting the story of Susanna from Rembrandt in 1647. This statement was part of eleven other depositions, drawn up by the guardian of Titus van Rijn, Louis Crayers, to determine the size of the inheritance from Titus' mother Saskia van Uylenburgh who died in 1642 (Strauss/Van der Meulen, 1979, no. 1659/17). Because the other depositions concern paintings which were already finished in 1642, the present painting must have been completed in some way in that year. In the Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings is substantiated that Rembrandt started the painting c. 1638 (Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings, vol. 5 (2011). This date is based on a preliminary sketch, made by Rembrandt c. 1638, for the elder behind Susanna depicted in the first version of the painting. In this drawing, which is now in Melbourne, the elder wears a larger hat and his hand is placed before his nose. Traces of the first version of the elder are visible in the X-ray, as well as a blue sky and a large tree instead of the tower. Sluijter and more recently Katja Kleinert and Claudia Laurenze-Landsberg date the first stage of the painting somewhat earlier, around 1635; before Rembrandt’s painting of Susanna, which is now in The Hague (Sluijter 2006, p. 131-139; Bevers/Kleinert/Laurenze-Landsberg 2015, p. 13-35). In 1635/1636 the story of Susanna was a subject in Rembrandt's workshop, as seen in numerous depictions of her in drawings by his pupils. According to Kleinert and Laurenze-Landsberg it can be concluded that the first stage of the painting served as a example for the drawings of the pupils. After this first stage Rembrandt must have reworked the painting twice. A drawing attributed to Barent Fabritius after the Berlin painting represent the second stage of the painting, which shows , in comparison with the present painting, a slightly different composition and elements which Rembrandt eliminated before the final version (for example a swan in the pool). The reliability of this copy is confirmed by the X-ray of the painting (Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings 1982, vol. 5 (2011), no V I, fig. 2).This second stage is probably c. 1643. Probably Rembrandt made the final changes just before or in 1647, making use of a study of a seated female nude which is now in Berlin. Recently Kleinert and Laurenze-Landsberg discovered that Sir Joshua Reynolds, who owned the painting between 1769-1792, made significant changes to the painting (Bevers/Kleinert/Laurenze-Landsberg 2015, p, 63, fig. 6).
Artistically related
Artistically related to other work
Such as a preparatory studie, comparable composition, other version, or copy of the artwork in this record.
Provenance
Exhibitions and literature
Visual documentation
Technical documentation
The RKD manages a collection of technical documentation that has been given to us by external researchers and museums or which stems from the RKD's own research with infrared reflectography. Documentation can be accessed by appointment at the RKD. While not all technical documentation has been entered in the database at present, new data is added on a regular basis.
Creation date: 2002-06-10; Last modified date: 2020-04-23

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