Adam and Eve

Adam and Eve

Title

Adam and Eve

[Cat. Warsaw 2000, 46]

Painting on lime wood

Medium

Painting on lime wood

[Cat. Warsaw 2000, 46]
[Exhib. Cat. Berlin 1937, no. 19]

Adam and Eve stand against a black background on a narrow strip of ground, between them is the tree of knowledge. The serpent is coiled around it and stretches its head down towards Eve on the right side. Eve looks at the viewer and holds the apple, which she is

Adam and Eve stand against a black background on a narrow strip of ground, between them is the tree of knowledge. The serpent is coiled around it and stretches its head down towards Eve on the right side. Eve looks at the viewer and holds the apple, which she is about to bite into. Her pale skin is distinguished from the darker skin tone of her opposite. Adam has raised his curly head and appears to look up.

[Görres, cda 2012]

Attribution
Lucas Cranach the Elder

Attribution

Lucas Cranach the Elder

[Cat. Warsaw 2000, 46] [Exhib. Cat. Berlin 1937, no. 19] [Cat. Breslau 1926, 17, no. 1309]

Production dates
about 1510
about 1512

Production dates

about 1510

[Cat. Warsaw 2000, 46]

about 1507 - 1508

[Cat. Breslau 1926, 17, no. 1309]

about 1510 - 1512

[Exhib. Cat. Berlin 1937, no. 19]

about 1512

[Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979, No. 44]

Dimensions
Dimensions of support: 58 x 44 cm

Dimensions

  • Dimensions of support: 58 x 44 cm

  • [Cat. Warsaw 2000, 46]

Signature / Dating
None
Owner
Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie
Repository
Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie
Location
Warsaw
CDA ID
PL_MNW_MOb588
FR (1978) Nr.
FR044
Persistent Link
https://lucascranach.org/en/PL_MNW_MOb588/

Provenance

  • in the 19th century in the collection of the Fürsten of Hohenzollern-Hechungen
  • Sepp Collection, Munich [1]
  • Dr. Oertel Collection, Munich
  • private collection, Paris
  • 1925 acquired by the Silesian Museum of Fine Arts Breslau
  • 01.06.1942 evacuated to the collecting point at Kamenz
  • 1946 transferred to the National Museum in Warsaw
    [1][Cat. Breslau 1926, 17, no. 1309]
    [Cat. Warsaw 2000, 47]

Exhibitions

Berlin 1937, no. 19
Bordeaux 1961, no. 83
Frankfurt 2007, no. 117
Brussels 2010, No. 92

Literature

Reference on page Catalogue Number Figure/Plate
Cat. Coburg 2018 32, 34 under no. 1
AuthorKlaus Weschenfelder
TitleCranach in Coburg. Gemälde von Lucas Cranach d.Ä., Lucas Cranach d.J., der Werkstatt und des Umkreises in den Kunstsammlungen der Veste Coburg
Place of PublicationRegensburg
Year of Publication2018
Bonnet 2017 38, 40, 41 57 Fig. 1 (detail)
AuthorAnne-Marie Bonnet
TitleLucas Cranach der Ältere als Primus inter Pares - Competitio et aemulatio in der deutschen Aktmalerei
Publicationin Gunnar Heydenreich, Daniel Görres, Beat Wismer, eds., Lucas Cranach der Ältere. Meister - Marke - Moderne. [Exhib. Cat. Düsseldorf 2017]
Place of PublicationMunich
Year of Publication2017
Pages38-43
Exhib. Cat. Düsseldorf 2017 144 No. 57
EditorGunnar Heydenreich, Daniel Görres, Beat Wismer
TitleLucas Cranach der Ältere. Meister - Marke - Moderne. [anlässlich der Ausstellung "Cranach. Meister - Marke - Moderne", Stiftung Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf, 08. April 2017 - 30. Juli 2017]
Place of PublicationMünchen
Year of Publication2017
Exhib. Cat. Brussels 2010 186-187 92 pp. 186, 199
EditorBozarbooks & Lannoo, Guido Messling
TitleDie Welt des Lucas Cranach. Ein Künstler im Zeitalter von Dürer, Tizian und Metsys [anlässlich der Ausstellung "Die Welt des Lucas Cranach", Palast der Schönen Künste, Brüssel, 20. Oktober 2010 - 23. Januar 2011]
Place of PublicationBrussels
Year of Publication2010
Exhib. Cat. Frankfurt 2007 362-363 117 p. 363
EditorBodo Brinkmann
TitleCranach der Ältere, [Frankfurt, Städel Museum, 23 Nov 2007 - 17 Feb 2008]
Place of PublicationOstfildern
Year of Publication2007
Schoen 2001 197-199
AuthorChristian Schoen
TitleAlbrecht Dürer: Adam und Eva. Die Gemälde, ihre Geschichte und Rezeption bei Lucas Cranach d.Ä. und Hans Baldung Grien
Place of PublicationBerlin
Year of Publication2001
Cat. Warsaw 2000 46-47
AuthorBozena Steinborn, Antoni Ziemba
TitleMalarstwo Niemieckie Do 1600 Roku, Katalog Zbiorów. Deutsche Malerei bis 1600, Bestandskatalog
Place of PublicationWarsaw
Year of Publication2000
Heydenreich 1998 A 190
AuthorGunnar Heydenreich
TitleHerstellung, Grundierung und Rahmung der Holzbildträger in den Werkstätten Lucas Cranachs d.Ä.
Publicationin Ingo Sandner, Wartburg-Stiftung Eisenach and Fachhochschule Köln, eds., Unsichtbare Meisterzeichnungen auf dem Malgrund. Cranach und seine Zeitgenossen, Exhib. Cat. Eisenach
Place of PublicationRegensburg
Year of Publication1998
Pages181-200
Bonnet 1994 143, 146 Fig. A92
AuthorAnne-Marie Bonnet
TitleDer Akt im Werk Lucas Cranachs. Bedeutung und Spezialitat der "nackten Bilder" innerhalb der deutschen Renaissance-Malerei
Publicationin Claus Grimm, Johannes Erichsen, Evamaria Brockhoff, eds., Lucas Cranach. Ein Maler-Unternehmer aus Franken, Exhib. Cat. Kronach 1994
Place of PublicationAugsburg, Coburg
Year of Publication1994
Pages139-149
Exhib. Cat. Kronach 1994 345, 371
EditorClaus Grimm, Johannes Erichsen, Evamaria Brockhoff
TitleLucas Cranach. Ein Maler-Unternehmer aus Franken [Festung Rosenberg, Kronach 17.05 - 21.08.1994; Museum der Bildenden Künste, Leipzig 07.09 - 06.11.1994]
SeriesVeröffentlichungen zur bayerischen Geschichte und Kultur
Volume26
Place of PublicationAugsburg, Coburg
Year of Publication1994
Friedländer, Rosenberg 1979 44
AuthorMax J. Friedländer, Jakob Rosenberg
EditorG. Schwartz
TitleDie Gemälde von Lucas Cranach
Place of PublicationBasel, Boston, Stuttgart
Year of Publication1979
Rosenberg 1976 21
AuthorJakob Rosenberg
Title"Adam und Eva" von Lucas Cranach d. Ä.
JournalPantheon
Issue34
Year of Publication1976
Pages17-21
Exhib. Cat. Basel 1974/1976 654
AuthorDieter Koepplin, Tilman Falk
TitleLukas Cranach. Gemälde, Zeichnungen und Druckgraphik
Volume1, 2
Place of PublicationBasel, Stuttgart
Year of Publication1974
Link http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:bsz:16-diglit-104522
Schade 1974 51
AuthorWerner Schade
TitleDie Malerfamilie Cranach
Place of PublicationDresden
Year of Publication1974
Link http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/schade1974
Exhib. Cat. Berlin 1937 18 019 Pl. 21
EditorStaatliche Museen, Berlin
TitleLucas Cranach d. Ä. und Lucas Cranach d. J. Gemälde, Zeichnungen, Graphik
Place of PublicationBerlin
Year of Publication1937
Cat. Breslau 1926 17 1309
AuthorHeinz Braune, Erich Wiese
TitleKatalog der Gemälde und Skulpturen. Schlesisches Museum der Bildenden Künste Breslau. VI Auflage
Place of PublicationBreslau
Year of Publication1926

Description/ Interpretation/ Comments

English summary of the article 'Temat na pokuszenie' by Hanna Benesz, in „Art&Business”, no. 11/2012 (262), pp. 80-84

A Subject for Temptation

'In bold': Two nude figures under a tree against a backdrop of dark forest, in fact a treatise about good and evil, the beginning and the fall of humanity and at the same time a masterpiece of early modern European art, unveiling many inspirations and contexts. It’s Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder.

It is to be admired in the Gallery of Old Masters newly reopened after a refurbishment on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Warsaw National Museum. An exceptional work both in Cranach’s oeuvre and in the whole period of Northern Renaissance, enthusiastically appreciated during two recent Cranach exhibitions (Frankfurt/London 2007-2008 and Brussels/Paris 2010-2011).

The chapter 'Artist and businessman' gives the biographical data and the scope of Cranach’s activity, mentioning his settling in Wittenberg and the Netherlandish journey of 1508, the influence of which is evident in the Altarpiece of the Holy Kindship, but also can be detected in "Adam and Eve".

'Nudity – a tempting theme' presents the description and analysis of the painting, stressing the fact that it belongs to the most beautiful Cranach’s pictures featuring nudes of Italian inspiration all’antica inspired by Dürer (1504 engraving and the pair of paintings from Prado, 1507).

'The Drama in Paradise' emphasizes the psychological verity of the sin and fall, which Cranach attained here in a more successful manner than Dürer, for whom harmony of the composition was the most important goal. Adam’s perplexity expressed in his spread hands and in his face, Eve’s surrender to temptation, seen in her gaze directed to the viewer- as if announcement of shamelessness, contrasting with her still childish face, are masterfully rendered. The comparison with the IRR image proves that in his final realization Cranach decided for a more difficult challenge of showing the moment just before the fall, instead the one after – which is evident in infrared: the fruit has been bitten, the eyes are turned down, the sadness is profound. The text stresses further the juxtaposition of the classical, Italian element in the figures and the possible Netherlandish influence in psychological aspect: Cranach may had seen Van Eyck’s 'Mystic Lamb Altarpiece' in Ghent with touchingly unclassical, naturalistic figures of Adam and Eve who, however, emanate extraordinary psychological power. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil here represented by an oak instead of an Italian apple tree is connected with a tradition popular in the Netherlands, according to which Christ’s (New Adam’s) cross was executed in oak wood. The contrast between beautiful nudes of classical inspiration and wild, picturesque nature which is characteristic of Northern art adds special pictorial and ideological values. The nature here is not yet the naturalistically rendered “German forest” which serves as the background in numerous later versions of Cranach’s "Adam and Eve", especially those created after 1520. However, the monumental and expressive motif of the tree epitomizes the forest as the archaic, natural environment of aboriginal, “wild” people and reflects nostalgic feelings for the unspoiled world of the Golden Age, expressed by Cranach’s contemporaries such as Albrecht Altdorfer or Hans Sachs. The latter’s 'Lament of the Wild Man over the Unfaithful World' (illustrated with Hans Schäufelein’s travesty of the canonical Dürer’s Adam and Eve engraving!), quoted in the text in a big fragment, expresses the desire of turning away consequences of the expulsion from the Paradise and recovering the state of primeval innocence from before the fall. Similar, although epicurean, message is present in numerous Cranach’s paintings showing the Golden Age of Humanity, where in the midst of the beautiful Middle European nature small nude figurines are playing with one another among lazy wild animals.

'The grand career of Adam and Eve' relates the chronology of early representations of Adam and Eve in Cranach’s oeuvre, starting with Besançon panels for big, double paintings and the Warsaw model for the small, cabinet pictures, mentioning their several later versions created before 1515, all of them against a dark background and showing First Humans on both sides of the tree. After a break, recommencing in the mid 1520s the narrative versions follow, where protagonists are shown in woods, among animals, especially stags, with the stress laid on such qualities as decorativeness and elegance, quite distant from classical characteristics of the early paintings. The statistics of these versions reaches some thirty examples, the last one dated in 1549. The great popularity of this theme in Cranach’s oeuvre (especially after 1525) by various authors is explained with a twofold argument: the Lutheran doctrine of the mercy on one hand and the erotic attractiveness of beautiful nudes on the other.

[Hanna Benesz 2013]

  • Adam and Eve, about 1510

Images

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Technical studies

10. 2012 - 10. 2010Technical examination / Scientific analysis

  • Infrared reflectography
  • irr

Underdrawing

DESCRIPTION

- the composition appears in part to be slightly different in the underdrawing, particularly the figure of Eve

Tools/Materials:

- fluid, black medium and brush

Type/Ductus:

- freehand underdrawing

- thin lines; probably some washes?

Function:

- not binding for the final painted version; lines delineate contours and describe the essential details; some representation of volume (washes?)

Deviations:

- major alterations made to the figure of Eve

INTERPRETATION

Attribution:

- Lucas Cranach the Elder

[Smith, Sandner, Heydenreich, cda 2012]

  • photographed by Gunnar Heydenreich
  • photographed by Ingo Sandner

2000Technical Examination

Support

- four planks

[Cat. Warsaw 2000, 46]

  • X-radiography
  • x_radiograph
  • x_radiograph
  • x_radiograph

Citing from the Cranach Digital Archive

Entry with author
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Entry with no author
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