Benjamin West The Expulsion Of Adam And Eve Analysis

784 Words4 Pages
Sammi Lonsdale
Visual Culture and the Body
Van Lenning
Assignment 1
The Expulsion of Adam & Eve from Paradise (1791)
Benjamin West (American) ________________________________________
Introduction
“The Expulsion of Adam and Eve”, created by the American artist, Benjamin West, in 1791 depicts Adam and Eve being removed from the Garden of Eden. Although Benjamin West grew up as an American, he spent the later period of his life in Italy and England. During the time that West was painting this masterpiece, America was going through major changes in their political and religious systems. The United States, newly freed from the grasp of England’s authoritative rule, was still trying to establish itself in their own unique way. Washington D.C was
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The first thing one might notice about these characters is that they are Caucasian, clothed, and natural. This is characteristic of the later Augustin Christian tradition that Erik Borgman spoke of in the beginning of the interview. No one is sexualized in this painting, all “private” areas on the body are covered, and there is no makeup or other sexual forces taking place in this painting. It is pure. This could simply be a reflection of the times that West was painting in, or, perhaps it is simply because Adam and Eve were described as having clothes on when they left Paradise. Furthermore, there are no marks on any of the bodies. According to the text by Michael Barilan, the body reflects the life lived by the person who embodies it . The scars and marks on the body personify it further, giving the body a history and a story of its own. However, since these bodies have no flaws, Barilan says that these bodies might belong to saints . But Adam and Eve are not saints. They are imperfect human beings now. It is curious that even though Adam and Eve are being removed from paradise, changed into a mortal form, and physically punished for their misdeeds they show no aesthetic

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