"“Adam and Eve”, Hans Baldung – description of the painting
Description of the picture:
Adam and Eve – Hans Baldung. 1520. Wood panel, oil. Eighty 5 x two hundred twelve cm
During his creative life, Baldung made many images of Adam and Eve, but this is more popular. It has already become almost a textbook, extensively used for illustrations of books, movies and distributed as reproductions or postcards.
The picture is two separate but paired images of biblical characters – Adam and Eve. Both are bare, only embarrassingly covered by luxuriously meandering branches with delicate leaves.
The figures of the famous ancestors of the world’s population are made in a naturalistic manner, in full growth. Their bodies are beautiful and luxurious, 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 failure is not far off – in Adam’s hand there is a branch with an apple from the tree of knowledge of Good and Evil, and Eve, though looking in the other direction, reaches out for the apple, which the Serpent-Tempter obligingly gives her.
The picturesque pluses of the image are undeniable. The figures of the characters are beautiful, proportional and harmonious, which is rarely found on church canvases since then in Germany. The painter seems to make it clear that the beauty of a naked human body is not a sin, sins lurk in the human mind.
Although a black, almost monochrome background was chosen for the picture, many different details were used in them. They all reflect episodes of being in the Garden of Eden. Behind the figure of Adam, a generous deer bowed his head crowned with horns. Eva sleeps peacefully like a domestic cat, a large carnivorous lioness. And the black background serves as a good reflector for the luminous bodies of the heroes – against its background they seem to shine with beauty and innocence."