Sexual harassment depicted by a 17th century woman artist — inspiring paintings for writers


Susanna and the elders

I found this painting because I follow @womtureensart1 on twitter. Every day I meet new artists and discover new paintings, sculpture, photographs. Go follow – it’s a breath of fresh air.
I chose this painting for a lot of reasons, but first a few basics. The subject is a bibical story I’ve never come across before. Here it is (edited from Wikipedia).

…as a fair Hebrew wife named Susanna bathes in her garden, having sent her attendants away, two lustful elders secretly observe her. 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 about to be put to death for promiscuity when a young man interrupts the proceedings, shouting that the elders should be questioned to prevent the…

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2 thoughts on “Sexual harassment depicted by a 17th century woman artist — inspiring paintings for writers

  1. Atemisia Gentileschi
    She was a very controversial female painter in a time when female painters where supposed to not exist as they were not allowed to train as artists. But she got herself accepted by the art academy. Her painting ‘Judith Slaying Holofernes’ is even more controversial as it shows a woman, Judith and her maid slashing the throat of Holofernes.

    A very strong minded and talented woman. She was one of very few women who brought a case of rape to court and actually won. It took her 7 months, and she was tortured in court by having rings attached to all her fingers which were then tightened to get a ‘true testimony’ (testimony coming from the Roman tradition of a man holding his testicles whilst giving evidence in court so what he said would be thought of as true as in ‘I swear on my testicles’- Aristotle – bless his heart decided that as women didn’t have testicles, they couldn’t be taken seriously and any evidence they gave was to not be believed, so that is when they introduced extraction under torture) Despite all of this she won her case.
    I’m glad her work is getting more of an airing


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