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'Expulsion from Garden of Eden' in Art

In the Book of Genesis, the Biblefs first book, man and woman are expelled from the Garden of Eden. I will discuss paintings by: Masaccio, Michelangelo, and Thomas Cole - artists who painted this biblical theme.

In the Bible (New King James Version) God created man and woman and He told Adam in the Old Testament, Genesis 2:16 & 2:17, gOf every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.h

In Genesis 3:6, it reads, gSo when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.h

In Genesis 3:23, it reads, gTherefore the Lord God sent him forth from the Garden on Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.h
As the biblical story is told, Adam and Eve sinned and God sent an angel to expel them.

One of the oldest versions of this story to survive is Masaccio's fresco (1425) in the Santa Maria del Carmine church in Florence, Italy. It shows a shamed, naked Adam and Eve exiting the Garden of Eden.
It is a very emotionally charged work of art.

Michelangelo included "The Fall and Expulsion from the Garden of Eden" (1509-1510) in his frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Vatican, Rome, Italy.
The Bible story according to Michelangelo shows the fallen couple on the left and their expulsion on the right.

American landscape artist Thomas Cole (founder of the Hudson River school), retold the Biblical story splendidly in "Expulsion from the Garden of Eden" (1828) in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.

In his painting, all is alive with flowers,vegetation, and light as it is portrayed on the right side of the canvas. I'm sure that his understanding of "right" meaning "correct" played a critical role in his decision as to where to place the Garden of Eden vs a barren world.

Cole's painting portrays the world as it exists: good vs bad, wrong vs right, death vs life, dark vs light.
The small, insignificant figures (perhaps minimized because of their sinful actions) are shown leaving the beautiful garden and walking towards a rocky, dark, unknown terrain.

Many artists portrayed the story of Genesis from the Bible (flash non-fiction, by the way) in the most extraordinary ways.

You can own a Giclee print of Michelangelo's "The Fall and Expulsion From the Garden of Eden."
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Content copyright © 2018 by Camille Gizzarelli. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Camille Gizzarelli. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Camille Gizzarelli for details.


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