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Original Sin and the Banishment from the Garden of Eden

Original Sin and the Banishment from the Garden of Eden

Material : Fresco
Item 8 on 28
Indoor Architecture
Fresco (Ceiling)

Vitrine : 2

Area related
Le Vatican (Le Vatican)


"The serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman: 'Did God say: 'You shall not eat of any tree of the garden'?'. And the woman said to the serpent: 'We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die'. But the serpent said to the woman: 'You will not die! ... you will be like God, knowing good and evil'. So the woman ... took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband..." (Genesis 3:1-6)..."The Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden ... he drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life" (Genesis 3:23-24)

Michelangelo illustrates simultaneously Original Sin (Genesis 3:1-13) and the banishment of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:22-24), two moments that are decidedly divided in the bible tale, thus showing together the cause and the effect generated. The two episodes are separated by the tree of good and evil, around which the serpent is wrapped. He is offering the forbidden fruit to Eve who, against the order of the Lord, will take it to eat it and offer it also to her companion. On the other side of the panel the forefathers, hunted by an angel with an unsheathed sword, leave the Garden of Eden, pained and bent under the burden of remorse for the sin committed.

The central part of the ceiling shows nine stories of the Genesis, divided into groups of three, relative to the origin of the universe, of man and of evil. The first three episodes (Separation of Light from Darkness: Genesis 1:1-5; Creation of the sun, moon and planets: Genesis 1:11-19; Separation of Land from Sea: Genesis 1,9-10) dominated by the figure of God, Creator of the Universe, are followed by those of the Creation of Adam (Genesis 1:26-27) and of Eve (Genesis 2:18-25), with the figures of man and woman in their nakedness, the symbol of innocence (Genesis 2:25) which will be lost with Original Sin (Genesis 3:1-13), shown in the next panel together with the resulting Banishment from the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:22-24). The last three frescoes (The Sacrifice of Noah: Genesis 8:15-20, The Flood: Genesis 6:5-8,20, The Drunkenness of Noah: Genesis 9:20-27) show the fall of mankind and its rebirth with Noah, chosen by God as the only man to be saved for repopulating the earth after the Creator had decided to destroy every living creature in it because of human evil.

Related article(s)   

Original Sin and the Banishment from the Garden of Eden
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (Michel-Ange)