Inv. No. St. P. 374 (property of the Städelscher Museums-Verein e.V.)
Begun in 1880, Rodin’s large-scale project for the so-calledGates of Hell – actually a doublewinged gate for the planned Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris (on the site of today’s Musée d’Orsay) – served as an inexhaustible fund of individual figures, which he constantly presented in new combinations and contexts. Eve likewise has her roots in this gigantic work, in which she would have been placed beside Adam, flanking the gate on either side. This female figure is marked by the moment of the recognition of shame. She hides not only her breasts but also her face: the Old Testament figure from the Creation story is transformed into an individual human being. Full of astonishment, Rilke later described this sculpture in these words: “And Eve, how she cowers down into her arms, whose hands, turned outward, seek to ward off everything (even her own – transforming body).” The surface of the lifesize figure is agitated and uneven and gives off strong reflections. This is due not only to the work’s unfinished state – the model’s pregnancy made it impossible to complete it – but also to the artist’s explicit desire to have light play across the body in impressionistic manner.