Choose a background colour

Willem van Mieris, Dutch, 1662-1747: Susannah and the Elders, c. 1700 

Willem van Mieris belonged to a fam­i­ly of artists and appren­ticed with his father Frans van Mieris, whose draw­ings are also on dis­play in this exhi­bi­tion. Like his father, Willem was cel­e­brat­ed for his pol­ished style and tech­ni­cal skill, which he employed in his clas­si­cal and bib­li­cal scenes. The artist drew the sub­ject of Susan­nah and the Elders on numer­ous occa­sions, like­ly because it offered an oppor­tu­ni­ty to depict female nudi­ty, a dra­mat­ic and emo­tion­al sit­u­a­tion, and an exam­ple of immoral behavior. 

High­ly fin­ished draw­ings like this were often intend­ed for sale on the open mar­ket. Its vel­lum sup­port (calf­skin) offered a smoother and finer qual­i­ty sur­face and was more valu­able than paper, mak­ing such draw­ings espe­cial­ly appeal­ing to collectors.