Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 9039
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Baskins , Cristelle L.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: “La Festa di Susanna”: Virtue on Trial in Renaissance Sacred Drama and Painted Wedding Chests [The author examines paintings of Susanna that appear on many fifteenth-century cassoni (wedding chests given to brides upon marriage and also used to transport dowry goods). In fifteenth-century Florence, cassoni paintings and sacred theatrical performances (“sacre rappresentazioni”) engaged in a problematic display of feminine virtue. Domenico di Michelino’s “Susanna and the Elders” panel, originally a cassone painting, depicts scenes from “La Festa di Susanna” (a fifteenth-century “sacra rappresentazione”) along with events from the Biblical narrative. The painting thus invites the viewer to consider not only the example of the Biblical heroine Susanna but also a larger host of contemporary legal, economic, and social issues. Title note supplied by Feminae.].
  • Source: Art History 14, 3 (September 1991): Pages 329 - 344.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Art History- Decorative Arts Art History- Painting Cassoni, Marriage Chests Daniel (Biblical Figure) in Art Domenico di Michelino, Painter- Susanna and the Elders Festa di Susanna, Sacra Rappresentazione Florence Literature- Drama Sacra Rappresentazione,
  • Geographic Area: Italy
  • Century: 15
  • Related Resources:
  • Primary Evidence: Painting; Domenico di Michelino, “Story of Susanna,” panel (originally part of a cassone frontal), 15th century (Baltimore, Walters Art Gallery). Painting depicts Susanna outside the court of the Elders, and three young men stand the left margin of the painting jus
  • Illustrations: Five figures. Figure One Domenico di Michelino, “Story of Susanna,” panel (originally part of a cassone frontal), 15th century (Baltimore, Walters Art Gallery). Painting depicts Susanna outside the court of the Elders. Figure Two Domenico di Michelino, “Susanna and the Elders,” panel (originally part of a cassone frontal), 15th century (New Brunswick, Rugters University, Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Gallery). Painting depicts Susanna fighting off the advances of the Elders while she is bathing. Figure Three Domenico di Michelino, “Susanna Arrested,” panel (originally part of a cassone frontal),15th century (Naples, Capodimonte Museum, Mario de Ciccio Collection). Painting depicts Susanna being arrested upon the false accusation of her assailants. Figure Four Domenico di Michelino, “Story of Susanna I,” panel (originally a cassone painting), 15th century (Avignon, Musée du Petit Palais). Painting depicts (from left to right) the Biblical narrative of Susanna (Daniel 13). On the left, Susanna passes by the court of the Elders; in the center, she enters the gate of her garden; on the right, two Elders make advances toward her while she bathes there. Figure Five Domenico di Michelino, “Story of Susanna II,” panel (originally a cassone painting), 15th century (Avignon, Musée du Petit Palais). The pictorial narration progresses from right to left: on the far left, the Elders wrongly accuse Susanna of adultery; further to the right, Susanna is arrested; more to the right, she appears at an inquest before the prophet Daniel (depicted as a young boy) and on the far right margin of the painting, the Elders (stripped naked) are stoned for their false accusations.
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  • Author's Affiliation: University of Rochester, New York
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 1991.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 01416790
  • Material/Technique :
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