Alessandro Allori, Susanna and the Elders, 1561. Oil on canvas, Musée Magnin, Dijon, France.
Does Allori’s ambiguous painting reveal the powerfully muscled elders overwhelming and penetrating the hapless Susanna, or does it reveal the sexually aggressive Susanna forcing them to touch her? Is the little dog reminding the elders—or Susanna—to remain faithful or is it just trying to get out of the way? Is Susanna grimacing and resisting, or smiling?