Giraudon/Art Resource, New York, N.Y.

In Vien’s work (shown here, compare with photo of painting by Artemisia Gentileschi), Susanna seems ambivalent. Her faintly wrinkled brow and modest blush appear to show uncertainty, shyness, and perhaps even encouragement rather than fear or repulsion. Some have suggested that pictures like Vien’s, emphasizing Susanna’s voluptuousness, reflect the fact that through the ages Susanna has provided an excuse for men to paint erotic scenes.