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Leandro Bassano

Seasonal allegory with Adam and Eve

Seasonal allegory with Adam and Eve by Leandro Bassano

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Allegories were a speciality of the Bassano family. Leandro's father Jacopo (also known as Giacomo) worked for the most part in his home town of Bassano del Grappa, although he spent some time in Venice, and was influenced by Titian and Tintoretto, Parmigianino and later Veronese. He took their ideas back to Bassano, and as his sons became active in his workshop they too followed in their father's style. They often repeated the same figures, thereby making identification of some works extremely difficult. The Gallery's painting was for a time attributed to Leandro's brother, Francesco the Younger, until W. Arslan identified the traces of a signature in the bottom left-hand corner. The months symbolised in this painting are almost certainly January, February and March, represented by Capricorn the goat, Aquarius the water-carrier, and the flowering willow, a symbol of Easter. The people in the foreground are occupied with the rural activities of late winter and early spring, while in the background to the right are the small figures of Adam and Eve, whose expulsion from the Garden of Eden symbolised the introduction of death to the natural world. Christ's Passion, which he suffered to redeem humanity's loss of innocence, is suggested in the lowering sky, but the slaughtered hare represents the overcoming of Adam's and Eve's fall from grace. Redemption through faith, therefore, is inherent in the burgeoning of spring. (from The Guide, 2001)

Seasonal allegory with Adam and Eve
Production date
circa 1580
oil on canvas
Size (h x w)
775 x 1111 mm
Traces of a signature, bottom left
Credit line
Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1961
Accession no
No known copyright restrictions
International Art
Display status
Not on display

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