With this print, Dürer catapulted to international prominence and became
the foremost printmaker in Europe. Having been introduced to the canon
of proportions—a mathematical system designed to depict the ideal human
body—by Jacopo de' Barbari, an Italian artist visiting Nuremberg in
1500, Dürer used the technique to create Adam and Eve. He paired
their flawless physiques with an emphasis on perfect temperament. Erwin
Panofsky argued that the animals embody the balance of bodily fluids
believed to determine personality, called humors, and were associated
with particular traits, for example, elk (melancholy), rabbit
(sensuality), cat (cruelty), and ox (sluggishness). Praising Dürer's
couple, contemporary poet Caspar Velius wrote, "When the Angel saw them,
he said with amazement: 'You were not yet this beautiful when I drove
you out of Paradise.'"


  • Title: Adam and Eve
  • Creator: Albrecht Dürer
  • Date Created: 1504
  • Location: Germany
  • Physical Dimensions: w209 x h265 mm
  • Description: Engraving Dated on plate, 1504.
  • Credit Line: Purchased as the gift of Eugene V. Thaw, S. Parker Gilbert, Rodney B. Berens, Mrs. Oscar de la Renta, Elaine Rosenberg, T. Kimball Brooker, George L. K. Frelinghuysen, and on the Ryskamp Fund, the Edwin H. Herzog Fund, and the Lois and Walter C. Baker Fund
  • Type: Print
  • External Link: http://www.themorgan.org/drawings/item/264931

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