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Storytelling in Miniature

Heinrich Aldegrever
German, 1502–about 1561

The Elders Stoned by the People, from “The Story of Susanna”

Engraving, 1555
4 7/16 x 3 3/16 in.
Gift of Carl B. Spitzer, 1938.45

The story of Susanna is included in the Book of Daniel in the Roman and Eastern Orthodox Bibles. A young Hebrew wife, Susanna is observed bathing in her garden by two prominent town elders. The two lecherous men threaten to accuse Susanna of meeting a young man in the garden unless she submits to them. Susanna refuses their advances and is falsely accused of promiscuity, a crime punishable by death. Upon cross-examination, the two elders are discovered to be lying, and they themselves are stoned to death.