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Adam and Eve - Hans Baldung. 85 x 212 cm
During his creative life, Baldung created many images of Adam and Eve, but this is the most popular. It has already become almost a textbook, widely used for illustrations of books, films and distributed as reproductions or postcards.
The picture is two separate, but paired images of biblical characters - Adam and Eve. Both are naked, only bashfully covered by gracefully wriggling branches with delicate leaves.
The figures of the legendary ancestors of mankind are made in a naturalistic manner, in full growth. Their bodies are beautiful and graceful, their faces are pretty and tender. This is Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden before the fall. They are happy, living in complete ignorance of grief and misfortune. But the trouble is not far off - in Adam’s hand there is a branch with an apple from the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil, and Eve, although looking in the opposite direction, reaches out for the apple, which the Serpent-Tempter gives her helpfully.
The picturesque virtues of the image are unconditional. The figures of the characters are beautiful, proportional and harmonious, which is not often found on church canvases of that time in Germany. It seems that the artist makes it clear that the beauty of a human naked body is not a sin, sins lurk in the human mind.
Although a dark, almost monochrome background was chosen for the picture, they used a lot of different details. They all reflect episodes of being in the Garden of Eden. Behind the figure of Adam, a red deer bowed his head crowned with horns. Behind Eve, she sleeps peacefully, like a domestic cat, a large predatory lioness. And the dark background serves as an excellent reflector for the luminous bodies of heroes - against its background they seem to glow with beauty and innocence.