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Adam and Eve

Image credit: The Bowes Museum

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This copy after Abraham Bloemaert’s print of 1604 dates from the eighteenth century, when the popularity of Bloemaert’s work was revived and admired by François Boucher and his contemporaries. The painting is rich with iconographic imagery. The inflated turkey symbolises Eve’s pride and stupidity, the cat her ill-fated deed. Whilst the gourd can sometimes symbolise resurrection and salvation, it has also assumed negative connotations of brief happiness because of its fast growth and decay. Eve’s striking pose dominates the composition, and is perhaps influenced by Renaissance designs and imagery of ‘The Judgement of Paris’ (a story from Greek mythology). In contrast, Adam sits passively looking away from the viewer. The unknown artist has enlarged Bloemaert’s design, increasing the height of the tree of knowledge and the expanse of landscape to the right.

The Bowes Museum

Barnard Castle


Adam and Eve


18th C


oil on panel


H 36.8 x W 27.6 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

bequeathed by the Founders, 1885

Work type



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The Bowes Museum

Barnard Castle, County Durham DL12 8NP England

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