Fall of man

By: Louk Vreeswijk

Apr 07 2013

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Category: Croatia, Europe

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Adam and Eve, thrown out of paradise by an angry god. What had they done wrong? They had committed the first, original sin. They had eaten the fruits from ‘the tree of knowledge of good and evil’ which god had explicitly forbidden. As a consequence the first man and woman lost their innocence and they became mortal. They now knew about good and evil. According to the Christian faith this event, the Fall of man, was the beginning of all misery for mankind.

I grew up with the catholic version of Christianity. The story of the Fall, with the expulsion from the garden of Eden, and the subsequent consequences of this original sin for the whole of mankind, has never been able to convince me. To me, seeking after knowledge, including knowledge of good and evil, is a good thing. Eating the fruits from this tree should not have been forbidden in the first place.

I must confess that I never have really believed in the Christian god, nor in any other god for that matter. When I was old enough to think for myself I left the catholic faith behind me and I have never regretted it. Religions have been invented and have further grown as explanatory models of the world, of nature, of man and the life of man. And in many respects they have outlived their relevance or usefulness. In my eyes this is an inevitable development.

Each religion may contain certain elements (myths, ideas, symbols, values) that can still appeal to modern, non-religious man. I for example, still find the story of the man Jesus impressive and valuable. His life story tells of a deeply human experience that continues to move us, especially if we can allow it to enter our own experience through great works of art inspired by the story through the ages.

The triptych on this page is a combination of three pictures of statues taken in a church in Croatia. I placed the bearded man in the middle in the role of angry god. The three figures have a somewhat primitive, clumsy appearance. I find the contrite faces of Adam and Eve, the way they cover their sex with a big fig leaf, and the wrathful face of god, very amusing. They fit the story that I would like them to express perfectly.

Photo of the week: Sibenik, Croatia, 2002

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