(active 1520s)

Adam and Eve

c. 1525
Pearwood, 62,5 x 46,5 cm
Schlossmuseum, Gotha

Dürer's Adam and Eve, with its emphasis on human beauty rather than mortal sin, caused a sensation. Available soon across the continent, the engraving became the definitive depiction of this theme. Artists from Lucas van Leyden and Jan Gossaert in the Netherlands to Raphael and Raimondi in Italy responded to it. Some merely replicated the scene while others consciously sought to devise their own alternatives. Master I.P., a talented wood sculptor active in Passau and Salzburg, did a bit of both. At first glance, his relief seems to show the next moment in time: Eve's pose is largely unchanged, but Adam, head still in profile, has turned to face her. Both are now sculpted as almost free-standing figures, which cast shadows on the two trees. Master I.P.'s Eve is more sensuous than Dürer's. She is more elongated, and a long strand of hair trails alluringly across her chest. The central landscape behind the couple generally follows the print, even including the mountain goat perched on the upper peak. The sculptor, however,, imaginatively extended Dürer's compositional fields and expanded the narrative to include the Creation of Eve and Expulsion from the Eden. By borrowing yet altering Dürer's composition, Master I.P. displayed his own inventiveness and skill as a sculptor.