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The Creation and Fall of Man

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Netherlands (made)

  • Date:

    1529 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Leyden, Lucas van (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Engraving in ink on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Eustace F. Bosanquet

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level H, case 95, shelf E, box 16

Like his contemporary, Albrecht Dürer, Lucas van Leyden was internationally recognised within his lifetime and beyond. Giorgio Vasari, writing in 1568, praised Leyden's fine engraving style and his use of perspective. Fine quality early impressions of his prints are rare. Copper printing plates are capable of producing only one or two hundred fine impressions before the plate starts to wear down, especially with a fine line engraving style as Leyden's. Such was Leyden's reputation and his prints so sought by collectors that his original printing plates were kept and impressions taken from them long after his death, resulting in a larger number of surviving poor and worn impressions than fine ones. Numerous copies were also made from his originals, which satisfied demand when originals were not available or affordable and for collectors of images interested more in subject matter.

Physical description

Standing beside the Tree of Knowledge, which is to the left of the image, God turns to Adam and Eve who are standing next to him and talks to them whilst pointing to the tree. He is wearing a turban and long tunic and cloak, and has a long white beard. Adam and Eve are naked but Eve is holding a branch of leaves which happens to cover up Adam's private parts. Eve has long hair and Adam appears here as a young man with shoulder length hair.

Place of Origin

Netherlands (made)


1529 (made)


Leyden, Lucas van (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Engraving in ink on paper

Marks and inscriptions

1529 / L [in reverse]
Inscribed on plate, top left


Height: 4.625 in, Width: 6.5 in

Descriptive line

Engraving of God Admonishing Adam and Eve, from a series of six prints entitled The Creation and Fall of Man, by Lucas Hugensz van Leyden (called Lucas Jacobsz); 1529.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Bartsch, Adam von. Le Peintre Graveur. Leipzig, J.A. Barth, 1854-1876.
The New Hollstein: Dutch & Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts, 1450-1700. Roosendaal. Koninklijke Van Poll in cooperation with the Rijksprentenkabinet, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 1993-
Cornelis, Bart and Jan Piet Filedt Kok. The taste for Lucas van Leyden prints. In: Simiolus - Netherlands Quarterly for the History of Art. 26: 1/2 (1998).
Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1941, London: HMSO, 1954.


Ink; Paper



Subjects depicted

Clouds; Stone; Tree of Knowledge; Grass; Landscapes (representations)


Christianity; Prints; Images Online; Illustration


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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