Adam and Eve are depicted at the fateful moment they disobey God. Hoping to know, like God, good and evil, Eve bites into a fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, the only forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden. After hesitating, Adam will take the fruit and the couple will be banished in punishment. Cranach’s rendering of the peaceful animals creates a sense of serenity, soon to be lost.

Cranach and his workshop made over 50 versions of this subject. This painting is one of the largest and most beautiful. His seductive depiction of nude figures and nature heightens the theme of temptation, central to this biblical story. Cranach painted his coat of arms (a serpent with a ring) and the date of the work in white on the tree trunk.


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