Sunday, December 1, 2019

01 Work, Interpretation the bible, With Footnotes - 122

Marco Benefial, 1684 - 1764, train.
SUSANNA AND THE OLD MEN
Oil on canvas. Relined. 
230 x 297 cm.
Private collection


Presentation of the biblical theme incorporated into a fountain garden architecture animated by tiered marble blocks and garden vases. On the right, sliding down a red cloth, on which lie gilded silver objects with fully figurative decor. In the middle the half-naked Susanna, who is about to pull a white cloth over her shoulder, her breast already covered by this cloth, as anticipation of the hidden nakedness. To the left of her are the two old people who have lurked behind the balustrade. More on this painting

A fair Hebrew wife named Susanna was falsely accused by lecherous voyeurs. As she bathes in her garden, having sent her attendants away, two lustful elders secretly observe the lovely Susanna. When she makes her way back to her house, they accost her, threatening to claim that she was meeting a young man in the garden unless she agrees to have sex with them.
She refuses to be blackmailed and is arrested and about to be put to death for promiscuity when a young man named Daniel interrupts the proceedings, shouting that the elders should be questioned to prevent the death of an innocent. After being separated, the two men are questioned about details of what they saw, but disagree about the tree under which Susanna supposedly met her lover. In the Greek text, the names of the trees cited by the elders form puns with the sentence given by Daniel. The first says they were under a mastic, and Daniel says that an angel stands ready to cuthim in two. The second says they were under an evergreen oak tree, and Daniel says that an angel stands ready to saw him in two. The great difference in size between a mastic and an oak makes the elders' lie plain to all the observers. The false accusers are put to death, and virtue triumphs. More about Susanna

Marco Benefial (25 April 1684 – 9 April 1764) was an Italian, proto-Neoclassical painter, mainly active in Rome. Benefial is best known for his repudiation of 18th century decorative Rococo styles pre-eminent in the Rome dominated by Carlo Maratta pupils. His paintings portrayed tangible human figures, with complex treatment of space, and luminous, warm colors. Along with the altarpieces and frescoes, he also painted many portraits. Because he partnered with some inferior artists who subsequently received credit, some of his paintings have been frequently misidentified. More on Marco Benefial

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