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Temptation of Adam

1974 Edgar Tolson Born: Lee City, Kentucky 1904 Died: Campton, Kentucky 1984 carved and painted wood 14 3/4 x 12 1/4 x 8 in. (37.5 x 31.1 x 20.3 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson 1986.65.272 Not currently on view


Luce Center Quote

"God made the first Adam and Eve and I made the second. But I lack a long shot of being God." Edgar Tolson, quoted in Michael D. Hall, "You Make It with Your Mind," The Clarion, 1987

Luce Center Label

Edgar Tolson created around a hundred carvings that show Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He believed that this event, along with the crucifixion of Christ, was one of the most important in history because it symbolized human weakness. (Michael D. Hall, "You Make It with Your Mind," The Clarion, 1987) In this piece, Tolson left the wood bare to symbolize the innocence of the first couple, but painted the snake black to highlight the devil's wickedness.

Keywords

Animal - reptile - snake

Landscape - tree - apple tree

Religion - Old Testament - Adam

Religion - Old Testament - Eve

State of being - evil - temptation

sculpture

folk art

wood - cedar

wood - poplar

About Edgar Tolson

Born: Lee City, Kentucky 1904 Died: Campton, Kentucky 1984

More works in the collection by
Edgar Tolson