1520 Oil on panel, 168,9 x 111,4 cm Royal Collection, Windsor This theme occurs at least nine times in Mabuse's painted and graphic oeuvre, but none of these renderings is dated. On grounds of style, however, the present painting would seem to have been undertaken after the Neptune and Amphitrite of 1516 (Berlin, Staatliche Museen) or the Hercules and Deinara of 1517 (Birmingham, Barber Institute of Fine Arts), and to have preceded the Adam and Eve dating from around 1525 (Berlin, Staatliche Museen). In general terms, as his career developed, Mabuse evolved compositions of greater complexity characterised by a repertoire of contorted poses with exaggerated anatomy and a vivid treatment of chiaroscuro. At the same time his technique became altogether freer. The Adam and Eve in the Royal Collection may date from around 1520. Mabuse refers to a number of prints for the poses of Adam and Eve: D?rer's Adam and Eve of 1504, Jacopo de' Barbari's Mars and Venus and Marcantonio Raimondi's Adam and Eve after Raphael. The pose of Eve is perhaps more specifically related to D?rer's engraving known as The Dream of the Doctor, particularly the upper part of the body. Mabuse had visited Italy in 1508-9 and became a prime exponent of Northern Mannerism, a style that evolved principally from the cross-fertilisation of German and Italian art. Quite apart from the large scale of the painting, the prominence of the foreground figures is still further enhanced by the sudden drop down to the middle-ground, dominated by a fountain set in the Garden of Eden. Fanciful architecture of this kind is frequently found in Mabuse's work. He was also a remarkably fine painter of the nude. The treatment of the musculature may not be to modern taste, but it was undoubtedly inspired by classical sculpture. The handling of the hair, especially Eve's long tresses, which may have influenced Milton, was a speciality of the artist. Supplementing the narrative of The Fall as recounted in the second and third chapters of Genesis is a certain amount of symbolism, which is illustrated in Mabuse's work: the two trees represent the Tree of Life and the Tree of Good and Evil, while the plants in the immediate foreground (columbine and sea holly) probably symbolise the contrasting emotions of the fear of God and the lust experienced by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Adam wears an apron of leaves, but Eve is still technically naked. Mabuse was concerned to paint an epitome of the theme and was therefore disposed to take liberties with the biblical text. This painting was presented by the States-General of Holland to Charles I in 1636. It was sold in 1650 after the death of Charles I, but was recovered at the time of the Restoration. It has been suggested that John Milton, who was appointed Latin Secretary to Cromwell's Council of State in 1649, may have seen the work before it was sold, since the description of Adam and Eve in Paradise Lost (Book 4, lines 300-18) is fairly close. Artist: GOSSAERT, Jan (Mabuse) Painting Title: Adam and Eve , 1501-1550 Painting Style: Flemish , , religious
Order special size.
Paintings We Have Painted!