Adam and Eve
Jan Gossaert, Flemish, Adam and Eve, ca. 1525, Chalk on two sheets joined together; 62.1 x 45.9 cm (24 3/8 x 18 1/8 inches), Walter H. Kimball Fund 48.425
Portraying a psychologically charged and overtly erotic moment between Adam and Eve, this image was drawn by Jan Gossaert when he was court artist to the Bishop of Utrecht, Philip of Burgundy (1464–1524). Gossaert selected his visual models from Italian and northern European prints and sketchbooks he had compiled in Rome to create a precariously balanced composition highlighting Eve’s simultaneous reach toward the forbidden fruit and Adam’s groin. Adam appears no less culpable, as his arms parallel those of Eve. Gossaert’s descriptive approach to texture and reflected light, which he achieved by rubbing the chalk marks with a paper stump, indicates his immersion in northern European painting traditions. Whether this drawing was a workshop example, a model for finished work, or a presen-tation piece remains a mystery.