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The Path to Paradise: Judith

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The Birth of Eve

2013
57 x 31 in. (144.8 x 78.7 cm)

Judith Schaechter
American

Object Type: Glass
Medium and Support: Stained-glass panel
Credit Line: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the James Renwick Alliance
Accession Number: EX2020.DG1.10
Location: Currently on view
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Despite the title, The Birth of Eve is not a religious image, but it undoubtedly references Eve’s creation myth in the book of Genesis. Schaechter employs Eve as an archetype, or an ancient, recurring image that retains the power to evoke powerful responses from modern viewers. The biblical Eve, whose disobedience formed the basis for humankind’s original sin, is abandoned for Schaechter’s Eve, who heads—guiltless, Adam-less, and full-tilt—toward her own lusciously imagined Garden of Eden.

This woman’s birth, into a field of sumptuous, riotously colored flowers, awaits her. By exploiting the formal elements of color, light, and pattern in the area of the garden—in which the profusion of flowers repeats as a complex pattern horizontally across the panel—Schaechter achieves her goal of creating an image of maximum sensual and aesthetic beauty.

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