Today’s Art for the Month of June selection is ‘Expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden’ by Scottish painter John Faed. Located in the Cleveland Museum of Art, I don’t remember seeing painting upon my visit several years ago. That’s unfortunate.
Anyway, ‘Expulsion’ is an incredible piece, though this not your average depiction of the famous biblical scene. Faed’s portrayal of the exiled couple is adequate, however my attention is focused not on their tragic loss but rather the beautiful, classically rendered angel casting them out of the garden. Title aside, I believe this painting is a portrait of the angel, himself the embodiment of brilliance, centered in the middle while Adam and Eve are supplied as mere secondary figures. I’m unsure if the angel is meant to depict the Jophiel or Gabriel, but regardless it’s a strong representation body language and form. I admire the power which emanates from his forceful gesture which evicts the couple from their worldly paradise. This painting swiftly communicates to the viewer that they will never be welcomed back.
I also admire this work for its aesthetic qualities. The light radiating down from the left is bright and bold, casting a dramatic shadow over everything it touches, contributing to the mournful scene. The shape of the angel’s wings are complemented by that of the trees, while the circle created by the coiling snake could be likened to the aforementioned light, both balancing the composition to draw the eye toward the center.