Adam, Eve, and Renaissance Art

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    Harvard art historian Joseph Koerner is the guest lecturer for the 2017 Janson-La Palme Distinguished Lecture in European Art History.
March 31, 2017

Eminent Harvard Art Historian Joseph Koerner will deliver the Janson-La Palme Distinguished Lecture in European Art History on April 17.

Washington College is pleased to host art historian Joseph Koerner for a talk titled, “The Moment of the Fall: The Ethical Challenge of Adam and Eve in Renaissance Art” at 4:30 p.m. Monday, April 17 as the 2017 Janson-La Palme Distinguished Lecture in European Art History. The talk will take place in Decker Theatre of the Gibson Center for the Arts and is free and open to the public.

Of all the tales people told about themselves, the story of Adam and Eve has been the most powerful and enduring. In the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim worlds, people practiced ethical reasoning through the seedpod of this one strange story: the first man, followed soon by the first woman, disobeys his creator and is punished by sickness, hardship, and death.

During the Renaissance especially, the Fall tested the mettle of Renaissance artists through the challenge posed by the nude and through the leap, described in the story, from innocence to guilt. Restricted to a static medium, painters and sculptors entangled a “before” the Fall and an “after,” and this prompted ethical reasoning in artists and viewers. This lecture explores how Hieronymus Bosch, Albrecht Dürer, and other European masters portrayed humanity’s pivotal moment. 

Joseph Koerner is the Victor S. Thomas Professor of the History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University, where he specializes in Northern Renaissance and 19th century art. He is the author of many acclaimed books, including Caspar David Friedrich and the Subject of Landscape (1990), The Moment of Self-Portraiture in German Renaissance Art (1993), The Reformation of the Image (2004), Dürer’s Hands (2006), and Bosch and Bruegel: From Enemy Painting to Everyday Life (2016).

Koerner’s distinguished lectureships include the Slade Lectures at Cambridge University (2003), the Mellon Lectures at the National Gallery in Washington (2008), the Tanner Lectures at Cambridge University (2012), the Slade Lectures at Oxford University (2013), and the Gombrich Lectures at the Warburg Institute in London (2016). His professional honors include the Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Achievement Award (2009).

Established by Washington College professor emeritus Robert J. H. Janson-La Palme and his wife, Bayly, the Janson-La Palme Distinguished Lecture in European Art History brings internationally known scholars to campus for public lectures.


Last modified on Apr. 6th at 3:37pm by Marcia Landskroener.