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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

The Creation of Eve

Photo: Paul Macapia

The Creation of Eve

ca. 1510

Fra Bartolommeo

Italian, Florence, 1472-1517

In the first moments of human life before sin entered the world, when nudity was still associated with purity, God extracts Eve from the sleeping Adam’s rib. In the middle ground of this strangely desolate image of Paradise, we see the couple with their children Cain and Abel.

Oil on wood
21 3/8 x 19 1/8 in. (54.3 x 32.1cm)
Samuel H. Kress Collection
Provenance: Mme. La Duree, nee Chauvelle, Paris, 1924 [1]; Count Alessandro Contini Bonacossi (1878-1955), Rome-Florence; sold to Samuel H. Kress (1863-1955), New York, June 16, 1937; gift to the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1939; deaccessioned and returned to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 1952; Seattle Art Museum, since 1954, accessioned 1961 (exhibited Bacchiacca and His Friends, Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD, Jan 10-Feb 19, 1961, no. 25) [1] Roger Fry, "The Creation of Eve by Fra Bartolommeo," Burlington Magazine, vol. XLIV, 1924, p. 114, describes the painting as having recently come to light in France, and the photo credits it to the collection of Mme La Duree. A photograph in the object file refers to the collection of Giannino Marchig (1897-1983), a restorer and dealer based in Florence and Geneva, but his association with this painting is unconfirmed.
Photo: Paul Macapia
Now on view at the Seattle Art Museum


Exhibition HistoryWashington, D.C., National Gallery of Art, Preliminary Catalogue of Paintings and Sculpture, Mar. 17, 1941-1952. Cat. no. 467, pl. 14.

Baltimore, Md., Baltimore Museum, Bacchiacca and His Friends, Jan. 10-Feb. 19, 1961. Cat. no. 25, p. 20, fig. 1.

Winter Park, Fl., Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College, Cosimo Rosselli: Painter of the Sistine Chapel, Jan. 15-May 15, 2001. Text by Arthur R. Blumenthal et al. Cat. no. 24, pp. 188-193.

Published ReferencesMather, Frank J. “Art in America: Recent Additions to the Collection of Mr. John G. Johnson, Philadelphia.” Burlington Magazine 9, no. 41 (August 1906): p. 352, pl. 1.

Sambon, Louis. “A propos d’un tableau inédit de Fra Bartolommeo.” Le Musée: Revue d’art 7 (January 1924): pp. 8-11, reproduced.

Fry, Roger. "The Creation of Eve by Fra Bartolommeo." Burlington Magazine 44, no. 252 (March 1924): p. 114, pl. 2.

Venturi, Adolfo. Storia dell’Arte Italiana: IX, La pittura del Cinquecento. Milan: Ulrico Hoepli, 1925; vol. I, p. 261.

Scharf, Alfred. “Bacchiacca: A New Contribution.” Burlington Magazine 70, no. 407 (February 1937): p. 65.

Suida, William and Richard Fuller. European Paintings and Sculpture from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. Seattle: Seattle Art Museum, 1954; p. 40, reproduced p. 41.

Fry, Roger. Transformations: Critical and Speculative Essays on Art. New York: Doubleday, 1956; pl. 18.

Ferguson, George. Signs and Symbols in Christian Art. New York: 1961; pl. 1.

Berenson, Bernard. Italian Pictures of the Renaissance: Florentine School. London: Phaidon Press, 1963; vol. I, p. 24.

Shapley, Fern Rusk. Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection, Italian Schools XV-XVI Century. London: Phaidon Press, 1968; no. K1100, pp. 125-126, reproduced fig. 304.

Fredericksen, Burton B. and Federico Zeri. Census of Pre-Nineteenth-Century Italian Paintings in North American Public Collections. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1972; pp. 17, 638.

Walker, Barbara. The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1983; pp. 260-261, reproduced.

c.f. Ellis, Charles S. “Book Reviews: Fra Bartolommeo et son atelier. Dessins et peintures des collections françaises.” Burlington Magazine 137, no. 1112 (November 1995): pp. 756-757.

Ishikawa, Chiyo. The Samuel H. Kress Collection at the Seattle Art Museum. Seattle: Seattle Art Museum, 1997; pp. 48-49, fig. 30.

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

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