Constituting the most valuable paintings in the Renaissance, Raphael's frescoes in Vatican Stanza Della Segnatura in Rome are a miracle in Western art history. This period is considered as the peak of Raphael's painting career. He used historical methods to deal with the abstract and incongruous social themes at that time. He attempted to coördinate the Greek spirit and the Christian spirit in frescoes under cloak of religion. Though the frescoes were painted for religious purpose, Raphael's humanism thought was subtly reflected. Making full use of his talent, Raphael endowed these religious frescoes strong secular nature.
The chief source for this painting Adam and Eva is the Bible story. According to the Old Testament, after creating the heaven and the earth, God created Adam and Eva and instructed them not to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Later, in the guise of a serpent, Satan tempted Eva to pick and eat the forbidden fruit. They were driven out of the Garden of Eden after they had eaten the fruit. This marked the beginning of the difficult process that they fell on the earth from the Garden.
This painting fully embodies Raphael's temperament of poets. The moment that Adam and Eva ate the forbidden fruit is displayed as a dance because the physical beauty is brilliantly and vividly conveyed in this painting. At the first glance, we can see three figures, Adam, Eva and a serpent, under the tree of knowledge. The serpent is wreathing around the tree. With a deceptive expression, it turns its face to Adam. On the left side, Adam is sitting on a grassy rock. He raises his right hand and turns his head and looks at the serpent. It seems that there is a serious conversation between them. On the right side, Eva is standing on the grassy ground with her left hand resting upon a branch. Her right hand and face are turning to Adam and the serpent, which suggests that she is convinced by the serpent to eat the forbidden fruit. She looks very mature, obviously deeply humanized.
The whole painting is of perfect harmony. The bodies of Adam and Eva are round in all the right places, like fully alive human. Accordingly, the Garden of Eden, with trees and grass, is full of human atmosphere. Humanism thought is fully reflected in this painting. Besides, physical beauty is also prominent. The most significant feature of Raphael's figure is roundness and softness. The proportion and symmetry of their bodies are just perfect, which lifts the harmony of the painting to a higher level.
Raphael's classical style is steady and beautiful. During this period, he created a large measure of works in the style of idealism. Meanwhile, Raphael's unique painting style became more mature and he had made great achievement in his painting life.
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