Michelangelo’s iconic frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, created from 1508-1512, include several notable biblical scenes, including The Temptation of Adam and Eve. In this depiction, the pair are shown being expelled from the Garden of Eden as punishment for committing the original sin after gaining knowledge of good and evil.
The symbolism in this fresco is rich, with Michelangelo using dead branches as a symbol of sacrifice and representing the vineyard with a cross. He took liberties in his portrayal of Adam and Eve by adding fig leaves to their bodies. However, Rembrandt’s etching shows them at the moment of temptation surrounded by light and with an ominous presence from a serpent present.
While portraits depicting prelapsarian Adam and Eve often represent them in their natural state without clothing or shame, Michelangelo chose to show them clothed as they are expelled from paradise. This shows just how much thought went into Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam fresco located on another section roof panel that depicts God touching fingers with Adam – one may suggest that this connects to subsequent scenes portrayed within Genesis creating theme coherence throughout chapel artworks.