Adam and Eve | Lucas Cranach the elder | 1526

Adam and Eve | Lucas Cranach the elder | 1526

Adam and Eve | Lucas Cranach the elder | 1526

Lucas Cranach the elder was a renaissance German artist that, despite being known for his portraits, he also worked in religious motifs.  

He was aligned with the cause of the protestant reformation because, in fact, was a close friend of Martin Luther and he even was the godfather of his first son.

But, regarding art, in this time of chaos that would divide Germany, the painter was concerned in finding new ways to express a religious motif. It is, in ways which weren’t classic in the catholic tradition.

Adam and Eve of 1526 is one of the versions of the same motif that the artist finished. Here we see the scene in which, according to Christianity, the couple is in Eden and is being tempted by Satan, in the form of a snake, through the fruit of the tree of science.  

The picture of the painting is kind of classic: he we find the Eden with all the animals (too much in little room), the snake hanging from the tree, the couple about toe at the fruit and, of course, the already classic leaves covering the genitals. However, there are a couple of details that are rather uncommon. On one hand, the individuals are too skinny for the renaissance taste. On the other, we see Adam scratching his head, in an evidently indecision of whether he should eat the fruit or not.  

Knowing that the Protestants have no saints and that they consider all man sinners, maybe Cranach’s intention with these details it not to idealize the first biblical characters, but to take them to the realm of the human.

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~ by Álvaro Mazzino on January 17, 2011.

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