Scenes from the Creation

Object Details


Scenes from the Creation


Simon Bening (Flemish, about 1483 - 1561)




Bruges, Belgium (Place created)


about 1525 - 1530


Tempera colors, gold paint, and gold leaf on parchment


Leaf: 16.8 x 11.4 cm (6 5/8 x 4 1/2 in.)

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Underneath a date palm, a luxuriously clad God the Father lifts up and blesses Eve, his new creation formed from Adam's rib. Behind the three figures, the golden Fountain of Life pours water into a stream from which the animals of Paradise drink.

In the background, Adam and Eve reach for the forbidden fruit on the Tree of Knowledge. Halfway up the closest hill, an angel wielding a sword drives the couple from Paradise in punishment for their sin. On top of the mountain, Cain and Abel offer their gifts to God, Abel's signifying God's acceptance with rising smoke and Cain's signifying God's rejection with descending smoke. Thus in the beautiful landscape of Paradise, the tragedy and sorrow of humanity's fate already casts a gloomy pall on the glory of Creation.

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