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Paul Manship captured Eve as a tortured soul. Her clenched fists symbolize her struggle with the snake that tempts her to eat the forbidden fruit. Manship's sculpture demonstrates a number of influences. The snake, for example, is supposed to be Lilith, the female demon of ancient mythologies, and her sinister face evokes the gargoyles of medieval cathedrals. The sculptor wanted to make Eve seem innocent, so he modeled her to look like an ancient Greek marble, which he believed was the purest form of sculpture. Her classicized torso rests comfortably on her left leg, and Manship even inserted an unnecessary back support, as if the piece were carved, to further allude to Greek sculpture.

Credit: Bequest of Paul Manship

1935
Bronze
111.2cm
1966.47.6
Image and text: Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2024

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