Sharrer referred to her naked, satisfyingly-sized women as ‘liberated’. It tends to be the clothed women, no matter how skimpy their clothing, who are not free, autonomous human beings.
Susannah was caught bathing by two lustful elders who threatened to accuse her of adultery if she did not sleep with them. She refused and was sentenced to death. Their scheme came out in cross-examination and they were executed in place of Susannah.
In the first painting [Susanna and the Eldest], Susannah is very assured but not out of danger. Her eyes are open and she is alert. There is a knife pointing to her in the mid-front pane of the picture. The skeleton is an intimation of what is to happen to the elders.
In the second painting [Susanna and the Elders], Susannah is asleep, relaxed and safe, in a bucolic setting even if a farmer turns to look at her in curiosity.
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