The Fall of Man by Altdorfer, Albrecht

The Fall of Man
Altdorfer, Albrecht
c.1535; Oil on hardboard transferred from panel;left panel: The Rule of Bacchus, 39 x 15.9 cmmiddle panel: The Fall of Man, 39 x 31.5 cmright panel: The Rule of Mars, 39 x 15.7 cmThe National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, USALeft panel:
the x-radiograph indicates a long check near the top of the left-hand
corner. A small length of barbe is visible at the right edge; this is
the only edge that is clearly original, but there are no strong
compositional indications that the panels have been significantly
altered. Examination with infrared reflectography reveals underdrawing
in what appears to be a liquid medium. There are numerous small losses
throughout, most apparent in the area of the inscription, and also an
extensive raised crackle.Middle panel:
Examination with infrared reflectography revealed only occasional
underdrawn strokes, but the x-radiograph indicated pentimenti around
Adam's shoulders, arms, hands, and feet, and Eve's left arm, leg, and
foot. The background paint overlaps the figures in what was probably a
deliberate attempt to reduce their contours. There are several large
losses throughout; these seem to have been the result of blistering
and may have been the occasion for the marouflage to
hardboard. Specifically, there are losses to the left of and above
Adam's head, through his chest, and around the lower part of his left
leg. At the right of Eve's head is a series of losses that continue
down her arm and a circular loss in her left calf. The surface is
secure but afflicted with vertical blistering and raised crackle. The
vertical join line along the center is inpainted.Right panel:
Examination with infrared reflectography reveals underdrawing in the
figure of Mars in what appears to be a liquid medium. There are
numerous small losses throughout, and these are particularly evident
in the area of the inscription. There are losses above and to the left
of Mars' head and in his left arm. The surface is secure but exhibits
a vertical, raised crackle pattern.The present arrangement of these panels is not the original
one. Although they were probably a triptych, the original center panel
is no longer extant, and the present center panel once existed as two
separate images on the reverse of the wings. Adam was on the reverse
of
The Rule of Bacchus
and Eve was on the reverse of
The Rule of Mars.
The work existed as a diptych from 1891 on, and photographs from
the 1930s and 1940s indicate that the two panels were joined so that
while the Adam and Eve panels faced each other correctly, the Bacchus
and Mars panels were consequently incorrectly oriented. Around 1950
the panels were thinned to a veneer and marouflaged to hardboard
that was subsequently veneered; it is assumed that at this time the
fronts and backs were separated and the backs joined together to form
a single image of The Fall of Man.

The Fall of Man Altdorfer, Albrecht c.1535; Oil on hardboard transferred from panel;left panel: The Rule of Bacchus, 39 x 15.9 cmmiddle panel: The Fall of Man, 39 x 31.5 cmright panel: The Rule of Mars, 39 x 15.7 cmThe National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, USALeft panel: the x-radiograph indicates a long check near the top of the left-hand corner. A small length of barbe is visible at the right edge; this is the only edge that is clearly original, but there are no strong compositional indications that the panels have been significantly altered. Examination with infrared reflectography reveals underdrawing in what appears to be a liquid medium. There are numerous small losses throughout, most apparent in the area of the inscription, and also an extensive raised crackle.Middle panel: Examination with infrared reflectography revealed only occasional underdrawn strokes, but the x-radiograph indicated pentimenti around Adam's shoulders, arms, hands, and feet, and Eve's left arm, leg, and foot. The background paint overlaps the figures in what was probably a deliberate attempt to reduce their contours. There are several large losses throughout; these seem to have been the result of blistering and may have been the occasion for the marouflage to hardboard. Specifically, there are losses to the left of and above Adam's head, through his chest, and around the lower part of his left leg. At the right of Eve's head is a series of losses that continue down her arm and a circular loss in her left calf. The surface is secure but afflicted with vertical blistering and raised crackle. The vertical join line along the center is inpainted.Right panel: Examination with infrared reflectography reveals underdrawing in the figure of Mars in what appears to be a liquid medium. There are numerous small losses throughout, and these are particularly evident in the area of the inscription. There are losses above and to the left of Mars' head and in his left arm. The surface is secure but exhibits a vertical, raised crackle pattern.The present arrangement of these panels is not the original one. Although they were probably a triptych, the original center panel is no longer extant, and the present center panel once existed as two separate images on the reverse of the wings. Adam was on the reverse of The Rule of Bacchus and Eve was on the reverse of The Rule of Mars. The work existed as a diptych from 1891 on, and photographs from the 1930s and 1940s indicate that the two panels were joined so that while the Adam and Eve panels faced each other correctly, the Bacchus and Mars panels were consequently incorrectly oriented. Around 1950 the panels were thinned to a veneer and marouflaged to hardboard that was subsequently veneered; it is assumed that at this time the fronts and backs were separated and the backs joined together to form a single image of The Fall of Man.