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Fragment of a Floor Mosaic: Adam and Eve

Fragment of a Floor Mosaic: Adam and Eve

late 400s-early 500s

Marble and stone tesserae

Overall: 142.9 x 107.3 x 5.7 cm (56 1/4 x 42 1/4 x 2 1/4 in.); Mounted: 142.9 x 107.3 x 7 cm (56 1/4 x 42 1/4 x 2 3/4 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1969.115

Fun Fact

In the Syrian village where this mosaic was created, few people could read and even fewer had access to books. The images within the church educated the community, leading 5th-century Pope Gregory the Great to describe religious images as "books for the illiterate."

Description

This mosaic panel representing the Fall of Adam and Eve once formed part of a much larger mosaic decorating the floor of an early Byzantine church in northern Syria. Here, Adam and Eve are portrayed sharing the forbidden fruit while covering themselves with large leaves. At the top of the panel, a Greek inscription reads, "And they ate and they realized they were naked" (Gen. 3:7), highlighting the two moments in the biblical narrative of the Fall that are depicted here.

See also
Collection: 
MED - Byzantine
Department: 
Medieval Art
Type of artwork: 
Mosaic

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