Art History –Museum Paper
This is formal comparison between two paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan, Adam and Eve Before The Fall (ca.1723-25) by Francois Le Moyne and The Expulsion From Paradise (ca. 1740) by Charles Joseph Natiore, brings to light two related situations, one is a show of action and the other is a show of consequence. The paintings are full length portraits of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the two characters are not looking at the viewer, and they seem to be engaged in something common to them. The scale of both figures is a full size imagery of the human size, they are distanced away from the front of the picture, this gives the impression of an independent environment different from the viewer’s surrounding’s.
The portrait of the Adam and Eve before the fall shows Adam and Eve both nude in the Garden of Eden, the painting is engraved in a copper frame that is decorated skill fully, four layers of decorations are visible separated by a thin dotted line, the layers of the decorations of the frame are deep-set one underlying of the other as they fall in inline to finally attach to the portrait. Adam is seated in relaxed posture; one leg crossed over on top of the other and his left hand leaning on a rock, on his right hand is a fruit handed over to him by eve. He looks directly at Eve with a smile. On the other hand Eve is seen standing; her left leg is leaning on a rock, her right hand is seen handing over a fruit to Adam, her left arm is seen to be pointing at the snake on the tree of life. The tree has a brown stem, it has green leaves and yellow fruits, on the tree the is a snake spiralled around the stem to middle of the tree, at the head of the snake there is a human head overlooking Adam and Eve. The background is dull and expansive, the garden is lush and full of vegetation, at the horizon the sun is seen setting in, and the sky is depicted as blue with traces of roughly painted white clouds afar. There are animals in the garden, a lion and a rabbit are seen sprawled in harmony just beside the rock Adam is seated on, a lioness is on the other side of the garden, this depicts the harmonious living of wild animals and human beings in the Garden of Eden. From Adam’s posture, it can be said that he is very comfortable receiving the fruit from eve and he has no doubts. His face is slightly leaning to the right and angled upwards facing Eve, this is a show of affection he has towards Eve. Eve is seen to be looking down towards Adam, the expression on her face is indifferent, she seems unsure of her action as she points back to the snake on the tree. The painter used a deep set dull back ground that shows clearly the bodies of Adam and Eve which are light in colour, the colours are not in high contrast but they create a clear three dimensional image of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Hughes, 2012).
In contrast to Adam and Eve before the fall, The Expulsion from Paradise shows more skill in the art, the portrait has more texture, colours and details. The portrait has a copper frame around it with two layers of decorations around it. The Expulsion from Paradise portraits Adam and Eve being ordered to leave the Garden of Eden; Adam is seen standing but this time he has a lush of leaves around his private parts unlike in the Adam and Eve Before the Fall, his hands are clasped together and his head is angled upwards with his eyes looking upwards. He seems to be pleading for forgiveness. Eve is seen seated on a low rock, a lush of leaves is covering her private parts, her left hand is leaning on a rock while her right hand is on her face, her head is angled downwards leaning to the right, a tear is glistening on her cheek. Her looks depict sorrow and regret. In mid-air, there is an half size image depicting God, dressed in a white gown and a red robe fashioned around His left shoulder, His left hand is angled pointing to His head. The look on His eyes is sharp and it shows anger and frustration, His right hand is lying straight across his body; grey clouds block the view of His entire body. An angel is seen overlooking the whole situation from aside, he is clad in a grey robe covering only half of his lower body, and wings are seen protruding from his back. Other angels are seen overlooking from afar, only their heads are seen, their bodies are covered by the deep cloud cover. Above God’s head there is a glimmer of light, it is square in shape, yellow light seems to be coming from inside, it depicts the entrance to heaven. The tail of a snake is seen on the back ground, it seems to be running away from the scene, a white goat is seated between Adam and Eve, and a brown cow is laid down behind Adam. The lustre of the background is lighter compared with the one on the Adam and Eve Before The Fall portrait, green plants with white flowers are part of the vegetation, there is a tree with green leaves and yellow fruits on it, other trees are visible and at the horizon the sun’s rays are seen blocked by a tree, there is a mountainous view afar with a blue sky and dark grey clouds fully filled (Hughes, 2012).
The painting fully depicts what happened in the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. This portrait shows God casting Adam and Eve out of the garden, the painter put to considerations all aspects of the dooms day for the two, the colours used by the painter give a vivid imagery of the expulsion from the garden. The texture of the painting is not concrete; a lot of images have been included in the painting all in an effort to give a realistic imagery of the situation in a portrait. Shades of green were used in creating the vegetation and the ground colour; plants were drawn with a darker shade while God, Adam, Eve and Angels were painted with a lighter shade for them to be seen clearly outstanding from all other images in the painting (Hughes, 2012).
Finally, both paintings share common similarities as one was a tribute to the other, through their similarities and differences both paintings though done by different painters, describe the life of Adam and Eve Before and during the expulsion.
Hughes, R. (2012). Nothing if Not Critical: Essays on Art and Artists. Random House LLC.