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Adam and Eve

A work made of engraving in black on ivory laid paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of engraving in black on ivory laid paper.




Sebald Beham (German, 1500-1550)
after Barthel Beham (German, 1502-1540)

About this artwork

For disobeying God’s orders and eating the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, Adam and Eve received the punishment of mortality, hard work, and pain. A skeleton, an obvious symbol of death, forms the trunk of the fatal tree, and the evil serpent winds its way through the skeleton’s hollow torso. Sebald Beham’s sensuous intertwining of the nudes, snake, and skeleton blatantly marks this depiction as a sexual awakening. While Adam is entirely naked, the gesture of Eve’s free hand both covers and accentuates her newfound sexuality.


Currently Off View


Prints and Drawings


Hans Sebald Beham


Adam and Eve


Germany (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1543


Engraving in black on ivory laid paper


Image/plate: 8.2 × 5.7 cm (3 1/4 × 2 1/4 in.); Sheet: 8.4 × 5.8 cm (3 5/16 × 2 5/16 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Potter Palmer, Jr.

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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