Temptation of Adam II, 1998
• carrara calacatta marble & granite
• 48” H x 15” W x 15” D (122cm H x 38cm W x 38cm D)
• collection of Dr. & Mrs. Lomnes, Pender Island, BC, Canada
In 1990, sculptor Michael Binkley carved “Temptation of Adam I” and the sculpture was loaded with symbolism. The subject was Eve in the Garden of Eden at the moment when she was tempting Adam with the Forbidden Fruit. Eve was standing in a seductive pose, her right hand above her head, pulling her cascading hair from her face. In her left hand, hidden behind her thigh, she held the Fruit – an apple – with her bite taken out of it. The left side is symbolic of Evil. The Devil, in the guise of a serpent, coiled around Eve’s feet and slithered up her left leg with its forked tongue licking the apple from below. Binkley’s intention was a double entendre – was Eve tempting Adam with her body, or the Apple?
While much admired, Binkley was not able to find a home for this sculpture, so in 1998, the artist decided to make a drastic change to the sculpture. He hacked off Eve’s head, arms and legs and put the resulting torso on a pin and a base. Binkley situated the apple at the base of the sculpture.
This became “Temptation of Adam II” and the story became more evident to viewers. Eve’s seductive pose was retained and the apple was no longer hidden behind her left thigh, but in full view.
Binkley carved the female nude from a variety of white marble, called calacatta which is quarried at the famous town of Carrara, Italy. This particular piece of marble had several striations of taupe grey which the artist orientated vertically in the composition. One problem with the first version of the sculpture was that these striations appeared to be a heavy chin strap under Eve’s jawline – an unfortunate occurrence that perhaps deterred a potential sale. However, these striations worked well in the simpler composition of the nude female torso. Binkley carved the apple from portoro macchia marble, another Italian stone, and added a white marble leaf. The base was a green granite from Eastern Canada.
Binkley used a matte finish on this sculpture so the surfaces were silky smooth to the touch, but the marble can hold shadow effectively. The artist feels that this type of surface treatment is crucial for figurative works, as shadows describe the details of the composition.