Rembrandt's Berlin 'Susanna and the Elders'
The Creation of a Masterpiece.

03.03.2015 to 31.05.2015

Among the many important works by Rembrandt in the Gemäldegalerie’s possession is his masterpiece 'Susanna and the Elders’. The painting’s theme is the Old-Testament story of Susanna, the virtuous wife of a rich man, who is observed bathing by two lecherous old judges who blackmail her to grant them sexual favours (which Susanna refuses). Rembrandt painted the Berlin painting in three stages. He started the panel painting sometime around 1635 and only completed it twelve years later, in 1647.

The original inspiration for the work was a drawing he made after a painting by his teacher, Pieter Lastman. He made more studies at each stage of the pentimenti (alterations to the composition). During this time, the story of Susanna was also a subject in his workshop as a whole, as seen in numerous depictions of her in drawings by his pupils. The exhibition is jointly organized by the Gemäldegalerie and Kupferstichkabinett and takes a closer look at the pentimenti. Also on display are the variations on the theme made by Rembrandt’s pupils. Technical analysis and research have also delivered sensational findings: we now know that significant changes were made to the painting by the English artist and collector Sir Joshua Reynolds, who owned the painting at one point.

Venue: 'Cabinet’ in the Gemäldegalerie

10785 Berlin

wheelchair accessible

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