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Religious Subjects > Adam & Eve

Adam & Eve

1.      The Temptation

Adam was warned by God not to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge.  Eve, however, listened to the wily serpent, Satan, who convinced her that they would be like gods if they ate the fruit.  She ate some and persuaded Adam to eat some too and their eyes were opened.  Realizing they were naked they stitched loincloths out of leaves to cover themselves.

In this naive English panel although Eve is seen holding out the fruit to Adam it is clear that their eyes have already been opened as they stare out towards us, the fig leaves already in place.  The serpent leans down out of the tree to watch progress.  This panel is surrounded by inlaid decoration and is surmounted by a double-arched panel which echoes the shape of the tree, the whole panel in a carved box frame.




2.       The Temptation

This German limewood version of the scene is more sophisticated than the previous example showing a more seductive Eve in the act of tempting Adam.  The serrated bark of the tree is possibly meant for a palm tree and serves to show up the coils of the serpent, while its beaked head hangs over Eve.  Her long hair is draped decorously over her, Adam meanwhile sports a fig leaf.  The design of the panel indicates an engraving as the source.








3.  The Expulsion


The three miscreants were punished by God for eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge.  The serpent was condemned to crawl on its body and eat dust, Eve to endure painful childbirth and be subject to Adam, while he was to toil in the fields until death.  An angel appeared with a sword, driving them out of the Garden of Eden, thus depriving them of immortality.

4. The Tempation

On this panel, with an integrally carved frame of leaves and a foliate crown, Adam has not yet taken the apple.  He is shown in his innocence without a fig leaf while Eve and the serpent contemplate one another.  The serpent has a frilly back and forked tail.

5. The Temptation

Here Adam turns modestly away but Eve holds a fig leaf, having already eaten some fruit. The serpent, coiled round the tree, has the torso of woman, tempting Eve with fruit in her outstretched hand, while Adam looks on in trepidation.