Michelangelo: The Fall and Expulsion of Adam and Eve

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The Fall and Expulsion of Adam and Eve, fresco on the ceiling of Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo

Sündenfall und Vertreibung aus dem Paradies (1508-1512), literally translated as ‘Fall and Expulsion from Paradise’, by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel (4th Bay), Rome.

Sündenfall und Vertreibung aus dem Paradies (also known as The Fall and Expulsion of Adam and Eve, The Temptation and Expulsion, or The Forbidden Fruit) is part of the Sistine Chapel ceiling paintings, one of the most famous works of art of Italian High Renaissance, was painted between 1508 and 1512 by the Italian artist Michelangelo who was commissioned by Pope Julius II. The Sistine Chapel was built between 1477 and 1480 by Pope Sixtus IV.

The artworks on the ceiling mainly consist of nine scenes from the Book of Genesis, out of which five smaller scenes are framed and supported by four youths. Below these scenes there are the figures of twelve prophets and prophetesses who prophesied the birth of Jesus Christ. On the crescents above the windows there are tablets listing the Ancestors of Jesus and other figures. In the triangular spandrels above them, there are eight groups of figures who have not been identified with any particular Biblical characters. The scheme of the composite work is completed by four corner pendentives illustrating Biblical stories.

The overall theme of the composite ceiling artwork illustrates how God created a perfect World for human beings. But humans committed forbidden acts and sins and fell into God’s disgrace. The God punished them by death and by separating humans from God. But humans committed more sins and they were punished further by the Great Flood. Through a lineage of ancestors, from Abraham to Joseph, God sent Jesus Christ, the Savior of humanity, whose coming was prophesied by the Prophets of Israel and Sibyls of the Classical world.

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