Exhibition Archive

Temptation in Eden
Lucas Cranach's Adam and Eve

21 June — 23 September 2007

Watching Cranach at work

Using x-radiographs and an infra-red reflectogram, the Courtauld’s Department of Conservation and Technology has revealed some of the changes that Lucas Cranach made to Adam and Eve as he perfected it in 1526.

Infra-red reflectogram
Infra-red reflectogram


Cranach changed the placement of the antlers of the huge stag seated at the left foreground; initially these extended further over Adam’s body and genitals.

The sheep which grazes quietly behind Adam seems to have been modeled fully in shades of grey, despite the fact that it was always going to be partially covered by Adam’s leg in the finished painting.

X-radiograph
X-radiograph


The artist changed his mind about the position of Adam’s fingers as he scratches his forehead and those of Eve as she prepares to pick another apple. However, both gestures seem always to have been intended in some form.