The Expulsion of Adam And Eve

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This is the story of Adam and Eve being expelled from the Garden of Eden. They've eaten the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge and God has discovered that transgression and has banished them from Eden and we see a foreshortened armed Angel [that was cropped out of the page] chasing them out of the Garden of Eden. Their being evicted. What follows from this is what mankind knows. This is the moment from which everything else comes in terms of Catholic understanding of man's destiny. It is from this fall from grace that Christ is required. It makes Christ's arrival necessary to redeem us.

Sometimes Mary and Christ are seen as the second Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve who caused the fall into sin and Mary and Christ who make possible salvation. That idea is something that everybody in church would be familiar with. There's so much emotion. Adam is covering his face, there is a kind of shame and a real awareness of his sin. His body is exposed to us. We've been restored to the original nudity that Masaccio gave us, which is absolutely era appropriate, but he's not covering his body, he's covering his face; it's a kind of internal sense of guilt. Whereas Eve's shown in a beautiful contrapposto covering herself, but it's her shame which seems more physical, but because her face is exposed, we can see the real pain that she expresses through it.

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By contrapposto, I’m referring to the standing, relaxed pose and these figures are in motion. They're moving forward. Masaccio is the first artist in a very long time to attempt to paint the human body naturalistically. And as a result, he hasn't quite gotten all of it perfectly because there’s some awkward passages. Adam's arms are a little bit too short. Eve's left arm is a little bit too long. Given that Masaccio's the first artist to really attempt this naturalism in 1,000 years, some of that is to be forgiven, but he's done an extraordinary job. If you look at Adam's abdomen, for example, it is really beautifully rendered. There is a physicality. There's a sense of weight and there's a sense of musculature. Masaccio's employing modeling very clearly from light to dark. He's so interested in modeling because that's what makes the forms appear three dimensional. You can see that Adam was painted separately from Eve. You can see the darker blue behind Adam’s back that highlight those different patches of plaster.

Those were not different in the 15th Century. Giornata means a day’s work, meaning that in the different days, the different parts of the fresco were painted in. This is buon (true) fresco, which means that it was painted onto wet plaster and so an artist could only do a small section at a time because the plaster would otherwise dry. The Expulsion is the first scene that you’ll be able to look at as you enter into this Chapel, that literally walks into this story. It’s almost like a panel in the cartoon it is leading our eye from left to right so that we can read through this story of St. Peter.

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The Expulsion of Adam And Eve. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 30, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-expulsion-of-adam-and-eve/
“The Expulsion of Adam And Eve.” Edubirdie, 17 Feb. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/the-expulsion-of-adam-and-eve/
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The Expulsion of Adam And Eve [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 17 [cited 2024 May 30]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-expulsion-of-adam-and-eve/
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