The Fall of Man (Adam and Eve)

1504
Albrecht Dürer (German, 1471–1528)


Catalogue Raisonné

Bartsch (intaglio) 001; Meder 1, II, a

Dimensions

Platemark: 25.2 x 19.4 cm (9 15/16 x 7 5/8 in.)

Accession Number

68.187

Medium or Technique

Engraving

Not On View

Collections

Europe, Prints and Drawings

Classifications

Prints

Dürer’s “Adam and Eve” presents human bodies according to the ideals of the Italian Renaissance. The image is also dense with late-medieval symbolism. The animals in the foreground represent characteristics of the four “humors”: melancholy (the elk), sensuality (the rabbit), cruelty (the cat), and sluggishness (the ox). It was believed that these “humors” had been in perfect equilibrium within the human body until Adam ate the forbidden fruit.

Provenance

Friedrich Augustus II of Saxony (b. 1797 - d. 1854; Lugt 971), Dresden. 1968, sold by Tomás Harris (dealer, b. 1908 - d, 1964), London, through P. and D. Colnaghi and Co., Ltd., London, to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 12, 1968)

Credit Line

Museum purchase with a Centennial Gift from Landon T. Clay