Adam and Eve created by Albrecht Durer is a splendid engraving deserving much attention. It depicts two people known by everyone from the Bible. Moreover, here one may see one of the most important events experienced by the humankind – the fall. Black and white colors applied by the author to create this art work emphasize the tragedy of the event shown on this engraving. Although the picture of the above-mentioned characters does not have any bright colors; it conveys a deep meaning. This piece of art stresses not form but content. It is my firm belief that this picture would not be so magnificent if it were written with bright colors. Albrecht Durer wanted to demonstrate the importance of people’s decisions; some of them may be fatal and bring a lot of problems. The same situation happened to first people.
The central focus of this picture is the representation of Adam and Eva under the tree. They are painted in the foreground surrounded by different animals – birds, hares, mice, and deer. We can see the snake on the branch behind Eva. It holds an apple in its mouth; and Eva is about to take it. Adam holds a branch with a bird in his right hand. Everything is beautiful around people; and they also attract the viewers’ attention at once. In the top right corner a viewer sees a piece of sky with the mountains. The tree behind Adam and Eva is an apple-tree. It is rich in apples; they are almost on each branch. People are shown young in the picture. Naked images and an apple tree convince us that the characters described here are the first people in Eden.
No doubt that the artist wanted to show the most important moment in people’s life – the turning point in the relationship between people and God. The characters’ facial expressions may tell much about their inner world and their thoughts. Moreover, Adam and Eva have different facial expressions. It is not very difficult to see curiosity and selfishness in Eva’s face. People knew that they could not take that apple; but Eva decided that it was possible for her to be as intelligent and powerful as God. Besides, she did not think about her husband. This fact proves that she was a rather selfish woman who followed only her own interests. A gentle smile on Eva’s lips reflects her satisfaction; as only several seconds separate her from the aim she wanted to reach. Adam’s face shows his surprise and grief. He seems to be very upset because his wife’s action. Adam’s body is bent to Eva as if he wants to stop her. He tries to stop Eva; but the woman has a strong intention to take that apple. That is why we can see a sad expression in Adam’s eyes – he loves his wife and the thought that he can do nothing to stop her makes him feel a deep regret.
It is impossible to say nothing about the author of this magnificent engraving – Albrecht Durer. Since childhood this person liked to paint and imitate the works of famous artists. Albrecht is known for being the first who created a self-portrait. Durer practiced oil painting and focused his attention on secular and religious subjects. This gave him an opportunity to produce great portraits and beautiful altar places. He influenced the development of European art greatly. Durer is also the author of the following well-known engravings: The Knight, St. Jerome in His Study, Adam and Eve, Melencolia I. Each of them has deep sense and deserves much attention. However, the engraving under consideration seems to be one of the works of art with much deeper sense. It presents the creativity and gift of its author and gives an opportunity to think over the biblical episode depicted by Albrecht Durer.
Berger, John. Albrecht Durer: Watercolours and Drawings. Koln: Taschen Titles, 1994. Print.
Carr, Dawson W., & Mark L., Looking at Paintings: A Guide to Technical Terms. Getty
Museum, 1992, Print.
Jessie, A. Albrecht Durer. USA: Brigham Young University, 2005, Print.
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Adam and Eve
Durer’s self-portrait at 26
The Little Owl