The Garden of Eden
(Italy, 1657 - 1747, Barra, Italy)
50.5 x 40 in. (128.27 x 101.6 cm)
Medium and Support:
Oil on canvas
Gift of Dianne Modestini in memory of Mario Modestini
Not on view.
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.