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The Garden of Eden

Artist: Francesco Solimena (Italy, 1657 - 1747, Barra, Italy) Primary
Date: ca. 1725-1730
18th century
Dimensions: 50.5 x 40 in. (128.27 x 101.6 cm)
Object Type: Painting
Creation Place: Europe, Italy
Medium and Support: Oil on canvas
Credit Line: Gift of Dianne Modestini in memory of Mario Modestini
Accession Number: 2013.02.01
On View: Bellarmine Hall Galleries

According to Bernardo de’Dominici’s three-volume Vite de’ pittori, scultori, ed architetti napoletani (1742), Francesco Solimena was commisioned by an English nobleman to paint “Adam and Eve with all the animals around them, and the Tempter in the distance, and some angels in the upper part.” This description has been identified with a painting in the Landesmuseum in Bonn. Solimena, one of the most successful Neapolitan painters of the 18th century, frequently painted variants of his most popular compositions, and The Garden of Eden is known in nearly a dozen versions, including those in Pasadena and Laon. However, our painting (along with another version in the Art Institute of Chicago) lacks the winged, nude figure of Satan that appears beside the goat in the middleground of the other versions of the painting.


Christies Sale 1822/Lot 97 sold to Dianne Modestini; gift 2013 to the Bellarmine Museum of Art, Fairfield University [now called the Fairfield University Art Museum].


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Refers to the style and period of architecture, visual art, decorative art, music, and literature of western Europe and the Americas from about 1590 to 1750. The style is characterized by balance and wholeness, often with an emphasis on spectacle and emotional content, and a tendency toward contrasts of light against dark, mass against void, and the use of strong diagonals and curves.
Unique works in which images are formed primarily by the direct application of pigments suspended in oil, water, egg yolk, molten wax, or other liquid, arranged in masses of color, onto a generally two-dimensional surface.
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Land owned and controlled by the state or federal government. Also, the status of publications, products, and processes that are not protected under patent or copyright.
Refers to the world religion and culture that developed in the first century CE, driven by the teachings of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Its roots are in the Judaic tradition and the Old Testament. The tenets include a belief in the death and redemptive resurrection of Jesus. The religion incorporates a tradition of faith, ritual, and a form of church authority or leadership.

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