CRANACH, Lucas the Elder
(b. 1472, Kronach, d. 1553, Weimar)

Adam and Eve

Oil on wood, 172 x 63 cm and 167 x 61 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

To the rigorous, perfectly Renaissance Dürer, troubled by the question of the proportions of the human body, Cranach, in his nudes, responds by freeing himself from every rule and from any observation of anatomical accuracy. His figures are elongated out of all proportion, seem boneless and are shown in affected, theatrical poses. The naked bodies, ivory-coloured against a dark background, emanate a totally cold, intellectual eroticism. The effect is accentuated in this work, for example, by the malicious gesture with which Eve holds out the apple, with her other hand bent unnaturally to hold the frond which covers her loins, but above all by the sly expression on her slightly cruel face.

Attributed once to Albrecht Dürer, the work is documented in Florentine Medicean collections yet in 1688.