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Eve, c. 1530

Lucas Cranach the Elder

German, 1472-1553
Oil on panel (one of a pair)
75 x 27-1/2 in. (190.5 x 69.9 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

On view

The son of a painter, Cranach was born in the town of Kronach in Franconia. His treatment of forms and space is rather abstract, even though our initial impression may focus on their apparent naturalism. The highly linear, ornamental manner, and corresponding emotional detachment, are consistent with the Mannerist aesthetic of the sixteenth century. The sensual body of Eve, for instance, is stylized and defined by unlikely anatomical proportions. The spiraling curves of her hair have a life of their own. Cranach envisioned her as a temptress, and her blushing cheeks and small breasts are clearly meant to allure. This secular treatment of an Old Testament subject was meant for pleasure rather than instruction. Adam and Eve were probably painted for a member of the court of the Elector and intended to hang in domestic surroundings.

Title: : 1 of 1