Collection Online
Susanna and the Elders
oil on canvas
55.8 × 46.7 cm
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1921
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
Gallery location
19th Century European Paintings Gallery
Level 2, NGV International

Purchased from the artist by William Morris Hunt (1824–79), a former pupil of Millet's in Paris, Boston, before 1855; by whom given to Jane Maria Hunt (sister of above), and subsequently given, as a Christmas present, to her brother Richard Morris Hunt (1827–95), Newport, Rhode Island, c. 1864; by descent to his son Herbert Leavitt Hunt (1877–1960), 1895–1921; from whom acquired, through David Croal Thompson (dealer), of Barbizon House, London, for the Felton Bequest, in 1921.

The Biblical story Susanna and the Elders has been a popular subject for artists over many centuries, as it allowed the portrayal of the nude at times when it was proscribed to do so other than in the context of a religious narrative. Traditionally, artists have depicted the Elders lurking in bushes, gazing at the naked Susanna. In Susanna and the Elders, Millet re-interpreted the narrative and has painted a brutal attack on Susanna, the physical manifestation of the crime. This makes Millet’s work far more confronting and alarming than the usual way artists treat this story.


This frame is in the form of Louis XIV revival frames made up from composition decorative work on a wooden base.
These frames have been used extensively as the default frame for many paintings, particularly the paintings of the French Impressionists.
A number of frames in this form were made by the John Thallon company for the NGV, notably to replace the original frames on nineteenth century Australian paintings.

The frame has counterparts in those found on: Walter SICKERT  Resting - La Giuseppina, Gwen JOHN   Interior with figures, John CROME   Woodland path.

Unknown - 20th century

timber, composition, gold leaf