Ok, so as promised, here is my view of this painting. It is a bit convoluted, but that is the magnificent thing about art!
So as mentioned, my initial thought was Eve as an apple tree…with the serpent whispering in her ear. She is seen as deceitful and disobedient for taking and eating from the tree of knowledge, seductive for convincing Adam to follow her lead, and weak willed for listening to the serpent. She was unfaithful and untrusting in God’s word and promise. And for that one action, many believe all of mankind now suffers by death in order to repay her debt.
But did she do it as an intentional disobedient act? Or was she so naive and innocent and sheltered that she hadn’t learned to think for herself yet? Hmm. Interesting.
Another interesting thought, is rather than the serpent being an actual snake that spoke to her, what if in this instance the serpent represents her inner voice? Rather than tempting her, what if she was so critical of herself that she would do anything to prove her worth? Perhaps she nit picked at herself…having been created in a perfect likeness to God, yet feeling that she wasn’t enough, unworthy of God’s gifts because in her mind she had questions and doubts and fears. Perhaps those negative thoughts ate at her mind until she decided to taste the fruit for herself…hoping it would clear her mind and make everything make sense…while still picking away at her own self in shame, searching for her inner worth. Now how do you feel about this Eve?
The latter is the Eve I see in this painting. Surrounded by but removed from the beauty of the Garden of Eden. Feeling alone and ashamed and unworthy of God’s unconditional love and the gifts he provided. Feeling she needed to prove her worth and the only way she knew how was to use her gift of free will, and choose to make a mistake. One, simple, mistake. Listening to her inner critic and picking herself apart until she was unrecognizable. And therefore leading into a self fulfilling prophecy…for by eating the fruit she proved that she was unworthy of God’s unconditional love and gifts. And so now…we live lives where love is conditional, and we believe that this is the way to be. And we constantly fear that we are not enough…constantly strive to be perfect and do better and better. Constantly in comparison with our friends and family and neighbours. Maybe…we aren’t that different from Eve.
Or maybe there is another interpretation! Did you have an ah-ha moment with a post on last week’s blog? Did something resonate with you or get your gears turning? Do you have a totally different outlook on this image? I would LOVE to hear it!!! Cheers!