The Family Project > Art > Session Four: Art History and Background

Session Four: Art History and Background

Goltzius' "The Fall of Man"

Image 4-1, 2: The Marriage of Adam and Eve and God Introducing Adam and Eve

"Marriage of Adam and Eve"


Jean Corbechon, The Marriage of Adam and Eve (1415)

Print illustration from Des Proprietes De Chozes

Fitzwilliam Museum – University of Cambridge

"Creation God Introducing Adam and Eve"


Jean Fouquet, God Introducing Adam and Eve (1476)

Illustration from Antiquites Judaiques

Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, France


These two works are notable because they position God the Father between Adam and Eve. He performs their wedding ceremony as the angels and the rest of creation witness the grand event. These images put a new kind of trinity in our minds: God the Creator along with the two beings He created to show forth His image in the world. He is the One that brings them together, giving them unique meaning and fostering their communion. In Fouquet’s image, the angels are wrapping the happy couple in the love and blessing of the Father.

Corbechon was a celebrated illustrator of his day, although very little else is known about him. His work appeared in numerous books in the 1300s and 1400s. Fouquet, a leading French painter and illustrator, was influenced by the Italian Renaissance, and brought that influence to France. He is credited with creating portraiture in miniature.

Image 4-3: The Fall of Man

Hendrik Goltzius' "The Fall of Man"


Hendrick Goltzius, The Fall of Man (1616)

National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC


Goltzius was an artist from Harleem in northern Holland. At an early age, he burned his hand badly, leaving it dramatically malformed. The incident strangely enhanced his ability as an artist, allowing him to very skillfully hold the tools he used as an engraver. He married an older widow whose wealth allowed him to found his own business. But she was of ungracious character, so he traveled widely, coming under the influence of Michelangelo’s work in Italy.

This beautiful painting shows Adam and Eve as they begin to partake of the forbidden fruit—an act of rebellion that would shatter their intimacy with one another as well as with God.

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