Susanna al bagno
signed, inscribed and dated 'GB. Lombardi/f. Roma·1873.' (on the base), on an integral base, revolving pedestal carved in relief with biblical scenes and ribbon-tied florals
52 in. (132.08 cm.) high, the figure
8112 (207 cm.) high, overall

Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, London, 20 March 1992, lot 80, as The Surprised Bather.
A. Conconi Fedrigolli, Giovanni Battista Lombardi, 1822-1880, Brescia, 2006, pp. 163-165, no. 60g.
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Lot Essay

A student of the Accademia in Rome under the direction of Piètro Tenerani, a pupil of Thorvaldsen, Lombardi had a celebrated career producing large religious and allegorical subjects. Susannah and Ruth are among the artist's most recognizable works and his studio produced the figures on a number of occasions. The present figure appears to be quite an early example of the model of Susannah, with other known examples sold at auction having been dated 1872, 1874, and 1877, respectively.
The story of Susannah and the Elders from the Old Testament tells the tale of a young and beautiful maiden who is caught bathing by two lustful voyeurs. As she attempts to leave the older men threaten her with blackmail, indicating that if she does not agree to sleep with them, they will falsify a story that Susannah was there to meet a lover. Susannah, refuses them and is ultimately innocent, her virtue triumphant. Like many artists before him, Lombardi captures the moment when Susannah first notices the intruders. She protects herself and scowls in their perceived direction, but enough of figure is revealed to illustrate the sinful temptation.

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