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The odd couple

Posted December. 16, 2021 07:43,   

Updated December. 16, 2021 07:43


The first couple that appears in the Bible is Adam and Even. They were given the liberty not to obey God and eventually sinned and were expelled from the garden of Eden. Adam and Eve, symbolized for depravity and original sin, had been depicted by Western artists for centuries, including 20th-century artist Paul Klee. The image of the couple is quite comical and unfamiliar. Why did the artist depict the couple this way?  

Klee was an artist that freely roamed between the boundaries of conceptual design and abstract and pioneered his own style instead of associated with a particular school of art. His works are simple, created in a childlike manner, witty and colorful. He was born in Switzerland, educated, and earned fame in Germany. He taught sculpture at the innovative Bauhaus when he was 42. This picture is a watercolor that he created in the year he began to teach at Bauhaus, interpreting the Biblical story based on his own perspective. In the painting, Eve is growing out of Adam’s ribs. Eve appears to be a young girl with pleated hair. Meanwhile, Adam is described as a male adult, tall, with a squared face, mustache, and earrings. While Adam stares forward with his eyes wide open, Eve, who is odd-eyed, gazes far beyond the painting. The artist depicted a couple, but they appear like a father-daughter and even a hermaphrodite. A stage with red curtains stands behind the couple. The ill-matched couple stands on a stage.

Ideally couples should look in the same direction. They should have identical values or purpose of life. The relationship would be difficult to sustain if they are different. The couple in the painting share a body, but they appear ill-matched and look in different directions. Perhaps Klee wanted to depict hidden desires and uneasiness of couples, who are physically attached in an undesiring way and pretend to be happy.