Albrecht Dürer’s 1504 engraving of Adam and Eve is a familiar portrayal of the biblical couple. However, this depiction carries nuances of meaning and artistic innovation. Both figures are shown nude with only leaves covering their genital areas. Adam is holding a mountain ash tree branch representing the Tree of Life, while gazing towards Eve.
Dürer constructs idealized poses for both Adam and Eve, exploring his fascination with ideal forms. He based Adam’s pose on the Apollo Belvedere, a famous Roman sculpture. Dürer additionally constructed the idealized bodies using geometry and mathematical systems of proportion—a reflection of his admiration for classical canons of proportion and anatomy.
Besides portraying Adam and Eve in nearly symmetrical positions, the print includes eight animals believed to represent the four humours. The meticulously described landscape has something from late medieval art as well as an element of symbolism.