Expulsion from the Garden of Eden
Clay. [measurements unknown]
[Cat. www.hermanwald.com Work ID 83]
Herman Wald stated that this was his favourite work. Adam and Eve are banished by the archangel and spun around by an overwhelming force whose rhythmic linearity has the quality of a silhouette. The base depicting Adam and Eve is built up in curves in which Eve, clad in a cloak, turns her back on the naked figure of Adam, whom she had tempted and who gazes downward in repentance to his disobedience. In Christian iconography the banishment is called “The Fall of Man” (i.e. Masaccio, 1425, painting in the Brancacci Chapel, church of Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence; Lorenzo Ghiberti, relief ca 1414 on a Florentine chest). In the late medieval, early Renaissance iconography Adam and Eve are naked. However, in Genesis 3:21 it is stated: “the Lord God made garments of skins for Adam and his wife, and clothed them”. In the Biblical story [Genesis 3:23] it was God who banished them from the Garden of Eden and not the angel. Herman Wald fused the Renaissance tradition with the Biblical theme: in this work Eve is clad in a garment, whilst Adam’s stocky body is naked. Unlike in Christian iconography, their backs are turned towards each other. Wald linked the scene to his own interpretation of the “Expulsion” in his time. He considered the nightmarish prospect that “an irresponsible descendant of Adam press an atomic button”, and thereby destroying the world.