Paradise

  • Edgar Tolson, Paradise, 1968, carved and painted white elm with pencil, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson, 1986.65.271

Execution Date
"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 many carvings that show Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He believed that the Fall of Man, along with the crucifixion of Christ, was one of the most important moments in history because it symbolized human weakness. A former preacher with vulnerabilities of his own, he seemed particularly attracted to images of this event. In Paradise the devil in the form of a serpent slithers toward the Tree of Knowledge, an act that foreshadows Adam and Eve's fall from grace. Tolson painted the serpent black to identify the devil's wickedness in contrast with the pure white elm of the rest of the figures.

Title
Paradise
Artist
Date
1968
On View
Dimensions
12 7/8 x 17 x 10 in. (32.7 x 43.2 x 25.5 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson

Mediums
Mediums Description
carved and painted white elm with pencil
Classifications
Keywords
  • Animal – reptile – snake
  • Animal – lion
  • Animal – cattle
  • Landscape – tree – apple tree
  • Religion – Old Testament – Eve
  • Religion – Old Testament – Adam
  • Animal – bird – owl
Object Number
1986.65.271
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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