Adam and Eve in Paradise


Lucas Cranach, the Elder (1472-1553) was a leading artist of the German Renaissance. He served as court painter at Wittenberg to Frederick the Wise of Saxony and was a friend and advocate of Martin Luther, the leader of the Protestant Reformation. He was also a master printmaker. This 1509 woodcut depicts Adam and Eve beneath an apple tree, surrounded by animals, with Eve being tempted by the serpent. Man’s fall from grace was a popular theme in the Reformation era. Between 1510 and 1540 Cranach painted Adam and Eve more than 30 times. Because Christian theology taught that Adam and Eve were perfect before succumbing to temptation and sin, Renaissance painters often painted them as reflections of ideal human beauty.

Last updated: March 23, 2015