Susannah Accused by the Elders and Led to Judgement thumbnail 1
Susannah Accused by the Elders and Led to Judgement thumbnail 2
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Sacred Silver & Stained Glass, Room 83, The Whiteley Galleries

Susannah Accused by the Elders and Led to Judgement

Roundel
ca. 1530 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

The story of Susannah and the Elders forms the 13th chapter of the Book of Daniel in the Catholic Bible. The Protestant churches do not consider it canonical, and thus is not included in their Bible, although it did appear in the King James version of 1611.

Susannah was the righteous wife of Joachim of Babylon, a wealthy man. Joachim permitted the wise elders of the community to use his garden to meet and discuss the legal matters of the land. It was there that Susannah came to the notice of two elders, who hid in the garden until her maids left to fetch her washing things. The elders threatened to accuse Susannah of adultery if she did not sleep with them. Susannah chose not to sin and refused their advances, so the two elders denounced her in a public assembly. The assembly called for her death, for they did not believe that the elders could lie, because of their age and position. Susannah prayed to God, who sent the wise young Daniel to arbitrate on her behalf. By separating the two elders and getting contradictory testimony during cross-examination, Daniel was able to demonstrate that they had lied. The assembly then condemned the elders to death, and Susannah was exonerated.

This scene is often displayed in government-related contexts as a reminder to judge wisely and honestly.

Here Susannah is depicted fully clothed, which is the medieval tradition. In Renaissance depictions, she is usually shown mostly naked.


Object details
Category
Object type
Materials and techniques
Stained glass with painted details
Brief description
Stained and painted glass roundel depicting Susannah being accused by the Elders and led to judgement. Made in the Netherlands, ca. 1530.
Physical description
Set in a border of arabesques (part of which is modern).

Susannah appears in the centre, head bowed demurely. Two men on the right, from the public assembly, pull the front of her gown. They are going to lead her before the assembly where she will be tried as an adulteress. One of her accusers appears on the left of the panel and standing next to him is Susannah's maid. Their is a townscape in the backgrond. The whole executed in brown/black pigment and silver stain.
Dimensions
  • Framed height: 35.9cm
  • Framed width: 36.7cm
  • Framed depth: 3.2cm
  • Framed weight: 2kg
  • Sight height: 34cm
  • Sight width: 33.3cm
Marks and inscriptions
PATHR[...] / SE W CANN / VTIOVE (Located on the bands on the elder's robe. Apparently has no meaning.)
Credit line
Soulages Collection
Object history
Formerly in the Soulages collection.
Historical context
The story of Susannah and the Elders forms the 13th chapter of the Book of Daniel in the Catholic (Vulgate) Bible. It is considered non-canonical by the Protestant church and thus is not included in their Bible, although it did appear in the King James version in the early 16th century.

Susannah was the notably righteous wife of Joachim of Babylon, a wealthy man. Joachim permitted his garden to be used by the wise elders of the community as a place where they could meet and discuss the legal matters of the land. It was there that Susannah came to the notice of two of these elders who hid in the garden until Susannah's two maids left to fetch her washing things. The elders threatened to expose Susannah, falsely, as an adulteress if she did not sleep with them. Susannah chose not to sin and refused their advances. The two elders denounced her in a public assembly. The assembly called for her death for they believed that the judges could never lie because of their age and their position. Susannah prayed to God who sent the wise young Daniel to arbitrate on her behalf. By separating the two elders and getting contradictory testimony during cross-examination, Daniel was able to demonstrate that they had lied. The assembly then called for the death of the elders which was carried out and Susannah was exonerated.



This scene is often displayed in government-related contexts as a reminder to judge wisely and honestly.



Susannah is depicted fully clothed which is the medieval tradition. In Renaissance depictions, she is depicted mostly naked.
Production
Not dependent on the Pseudi-Ortkens designs as is 5636-1859
Subjects depicted
Literary references
  • Old Testament
  • Book of Daniel
Summary
The story of Susannah and the Elders forms the 13th chapter of the Book of Daniel in the Catholic Bible. The Protestant churches do not consider it canonical, and thus is not included in their Bible, although it did appear in the King James version of 1611.



Susannah was the righteous wife of Joachim of Babylon, a wealthy man. Joachim permitted the wise elders of the community to use his garden to meet and discuss the legal matters of the land. It was there that Susannah came to the notice of two elders, who hid in the garden until her maids left to fetch her washing things. The elders threatened to accuse Susannah of adultery if she did not sleep with them. Susannah chose not to sin and refused their advances, so the two elders denounced her in a public assembly. The assembly called for her death, for they did not believe that the elders could lie, because of their age and position. Susannah prayed to God, who sent the wise young Daniel to arbitrate on her behalf. By separating the two elders and getting contradictory testimony during cross-examination, Daniel was able to demonstrate that they had lied. The assembly then condemned the elders to death, and Susannah was exonerated.



This scene is often displayed in government-related contexts as a reminder to judge wisely and honestly.



Here Susannah is depicted fully clothed, which is the medieval tradition. In Renaissance depictions, she is usually shown mostly naked.
Bibliographic references
  • Husband, Timothy, The Luminous Image: Painted Glass Roundels in the Lowlands, 1480-1560, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1995p.182
  • Bernard Rackham, A Guide to the Collections of Stained Glass, Victoria & Albert Museum, London. 1936
Collection
Accession number
5637-1859

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Record createdJune 16, 1999
Record URL
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