Adam and Eve (visual arts)  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e

Wiki Commons

Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Adam and Eve were used by early Renaissance artists as a theme to represent female and male nudes. Later, the nudity was objected to by more modest elements, and fig leaves were added to the older pictures and sculptures, covering their genitals. The choice of the fig was a result of Mediterranean traditions identifying the unnamed Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil as a fig tree, and since fig leaves were actually mentioned in Genesis 3 as being used to cover Adam and Eve's nudity.


Omphalos theory

Treating the concept of Adam and Eve as the historical truth introduces some logical dilemmas. One such dilemma is whether they should be depicted with navels (The Omphalos theory). Since they were created fully grown, and did not develop in a uterus, they would not have been connected to an umbilical chord as were all born humans. Paintings without navels looked unnatural and some artists obscure that area of their bodies, sometimes by depicting them covering up that area of their body with their hand or some other intervening object.


Lucas Cranach the Elder depicts a nude Eve on a panel painting housed at the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts. Hans Baldung Grien has a very sensual rendition of the subject. The rendition of the Van Eycks in the Ghent Altarpiece is purely in the alternative convention of gothic body shape.

Fig leaf images[1]

Left column, from top to bottom:

Right column, from top to bottom:

Source: [13]

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Adam and Eve (visual arts)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools