Jens Adolf Jerichau (1890-1916), The Creation of Eve. Composition. Opus II, 1915
The picture occupies a central position among the large figure compositions that Jerichau painted in the last years of his life, 1913 to 1916.
The creation of Woman
The dark, sombre colour scheme, the complex combination of symbolic figures, and the oval haloes that surround the figures are reminiscent of religious art from previous centuries. This reading is supported by the title, which also specifies that the image is a reinterpretation of the Old Testament tale of the creation of Woman. In Jerichau’s version, this creation takes place under the watchful eye of God, who occupies a central position in the composition between the angel and the prophet.
Inspiration for the painting
In terms of both form and content, the picture represents a high-flown ambition to carry on the tradition from the old masters of European art such as Raphael, Michelangelo, and El Greco. As many other of Jerichau’s large canvases, this scene is also laden with personal significance. Thus, the figures correspond to concepts such as the ”Father”, ”Mother” and ”Family” as described in Visdommens Bog (The Book of Wisdom), the artist’s occult symbolic book written in 1913-14. In addition to this, the painting displays a modern, expressive use of colour, rhythm, and lines that only truly set in during Jerichau’s final years.
The picture is at one and the same time a continuation of ”the grand tradition” of painting and a personal vision; one that communicates what lurks in the deepest reaches of the artist’s mind.