(b. 1518, Venezia, d. 1594, Venezia)
The Temptation of Adam1551-52
Oil on canvas, 150 x 220 cm
Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice
This work together with the Creation of Animals and the Murder of Abel, created between 1550 and 1553, was originally in the Scuola della Trinità.
Adam and Eve are depicted not in a landscape thrown into confusion by the hand of the Creator but in a more serene, more human dimension. In the leafy arbour the two nude figures moving around the trunk of the tree form the parallel diagonals of the composition. A strong light gives a sculptural effect to their ivory-pink flesh. But in the background, on the right, the tranquillity of the foreground scene gives way to the tumultuous epilogue to the fact of human disobedience to Divine will. With rapid brushstrokes Tintoretto evokes the fiery angel who drives Adam and Eve out into the distant desolate hills and plains.
Eve, temptation personified, is pressing close to the tree of knowledge; her arms prolong the line of the serpent thrusting down from above. Tintoretto confidently shows that he has now perfectly mastered not only the sculptural structure of a muscular, sinewy male body (a particular strength of Florentine painters, especially of Michelangelo) but also the reproduction of female grace and tenderness (the domain of Venetian artists, particularly Titian).
The model for Adam is a chiaroscuro woodcut by Antonio da Trento.