The Fall of Men

Master of Paulus and Barnabasaround 1550-1560



In this large panel there are references to various episodes of the story illustrated. The two main figures are depicted almost life-size in the foreground. The artist has chosen to depict the moment at which Eve offers the apple to Adam. Adam is leaning backwards and supporting himself with his right hand on a rock, as if he is recoiling. Nevertheless, he is on the point of taking the apple in his left hand. Both figures have a smooth, almost metallic skin, and form a strong contrast with the landscape, which can be attributed to a different artist. Also the type of underdrawing points tot wo different artists. For instance, the main caracters in the foreground are clear-cut with a firm line whereas the landscape and back-ground scenes are much sketchier.

The landscape of the Garden of Eden is a refined interpretation of a traditional Antwerp landscape, and serves as a setting for three small additional scenes: the expulsion from Paradise on the left, God instructing Adam and Eve in the centre and the creation of Eve deep in the woods on the right. The Fall of Man certainly follows traditions of pictures of this theme.

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  • Title: The Fall of Men
  • Creator: Jan van Hemessen (Environment Master of Paulus and Barnabas?)
  • Date: around 1550-1560
  • Physical Dimensions: 226 x 193 x 12 cm
  • Provenance: Acquired with the support of the Vereniging Rembrandt. © Peter Cox/Bonnefantenmuseum Maastricht
  • Medium: oil on panel