The story of Susanna and the Elders is included in the Book of Daniel in the Bible, though it is also regarded as apocryphal. It is a tale of voyeurism and lechery, but also of chastity and justice. Two old judges plotted to spy on Susanna, the pious wife of a prosperous Jew, as she went to take her customary bath in her garden. Rejected in their attempt to have their way with the lady, the old men publicly accuse Susanna of committing adultery with a young man, a crime punishable by death. As she is about to be executed, the then young prophet Daniel intervenes and questions the two men separately. Their conflicting accounts of the alleged crime betray the lie and Susanna is exonerated. The old men are put to death instead. The story is one of the earliest in which cross-examination is used as a method for obtaining the truth in trials.

Many European artists from the Renaissance and the Baroque depicted Susanna and the Elders, including great names such as Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Dyke and Tintoretto. The subject gave the artists an opportunity to represent the young female nude within a moral setting, complete with old men, a garden setting and some still life objects. The first great female artist Artemisa Gentileschi used this subject to become a prominent artist. In the 20th century, Pablo Picasso created his own version of Susanna and the Elders, which is part of the permanent collection at the Museo Picasso in Malaga, Spain.

In my own concept of Susanna and the Elders, I synthesized the essential formal elements of the subject within the context of present day perceptions of the nude female body. The old men are mere faces, half hidden behind the body of their prey. A few leaves on the upper left suggest the garden setting. A single drop running down Susana’s torso, with its erotical charge, is enough to imply the bathing ritual. The lilies tattooed on her abdomen are symbolic of her name, Susanna, from which the Spanish name of the flower (azucena) is derived. As for the lady herself, only the intimate aspects of Susanna are represented, and this with utmost realism, as if we as spectators are also participating in the voyeurism act. The image is life size in the actual painting, adding to the illusion of physical presence. The two faces look at us with opposite expressions, one inviting us to join in the invasion of privacy and the other with somber shame.     

The following are two comparative studies of my Susanna and the Elders and those of some of the great old masters:

http://arianogeta.blogspot.com/2013/05/un-tema-pittorico-ricorrente-3.html   

https://timothyrhaslett.wordpress.com/2014/08/27/

Hay un debate eterno de si el arte debe ser apreciado por sí mismo, por sus valores estéticos versus las ideas y asociaciones derivadas de la representación visual. Yo quería en Susana y los Viejos, y estoy seguro de que muchos otros artistas también, pintar una mujer joven desnuda, no por deseos sensuales sino por el reto de modelar una piel lozana a plena luz solar en óleo. No es difícil ni fácil, nunca pienso en esos términos. Es arriesgado. La piel no es opaca ni de un solo color. Quienes pintan así terminan representando cadáveres. Una piel viva palpita en diversas tonalidades translúcidas. Expresar esto de forma convincente en todo un cuerpo es un gran reto y lograrlo una gran satisfacción para el artista. Ayer, el último día de la pintura, fui posponiendo mi encuentro con la obra. Tenía el dilema del tatuaje. Es una alegoría de su nombre (Susana = azucena) y en ese sentido debía ubicarlo. En el relato bíblico, Susana es una mujer fiel, casta y piadosa. Entonces, estaría correcto que tuviera tatuaje? Eso es en cuanto a contenido, pero había otra duda. Si fallo en pintar el tatuaje, lograré corregir el error en una de las zonas más importantes del cuadro? En cuanto a realzar la sensualidad del cuerpo de Susana según los parámetros contemporáneos no sentí ninguna incomodidad. Todos los artistas han expresado a la mujer según el estándar de la época. Además, necesitaba que fuera así, porque lo tradicional es representar esta escena como en un teatro. Observas la escena, pero no participas. Aquí yo fuerzo al espectador a ser otro ligón más, y de cada cuál depende su reacción hacia la obra.