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Adam and Eve (The Fall)

Ludwig Krug1514

Bode-Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Bode-Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

From the turn of the sixteenth century on, the Fall had been a highly popular subject in the visual arts. Albrecht Dürer, Hans Baldung Grien and other artists created important works on the subject of Adam and Eve’s Fall. So too did Ludwig Krug, who enjoyed a high reputation in Nuremberg as a carver and goldsmith. In the Berlin relief, the artist’s interest is less in Eve’s temptation by the serpent than in a view of the Fall as a sensually erotic encounter of the two parents of humankind. The gazes and gestures of the two figures are deftly engaged, each with the other, so that the tension of their proximity is eased. Eve is seen in profile, her expression emotional, even love-struck, as she gazes up to Adam. Her right hand lies on his shoulder in a gesture of intimacy. The limbs of the two are so cleverly interwoven that it is only on second inspection that we realise which of the two is holding the bitten apple. It is Adam, whose action is being quite literally aped at the bottom of the little panel. The ape symbolically brings into the picture the desire of the flesh as the cause of the Fall.

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