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Chapter Two Creation before Eve
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Chapter Two
Creation before Eve

The Adam and Eve mosaics, in the first small cupola of the narthex of San Marco in Venice (Plate 1), begin the Old Testament narrative with the story of Creation; lining the upper walls and vaults of the remainder of the narthex are depictions of the subsequent narratives of Noah, Abraham, Joseph, and Moses. The identities of the mosaicists are unknown, but they were probably Western artists who began work in the 1220s and were still working on the extensive cycle in the 1290S.[1] This first cupola, divided into twenty-four frames and arranged in three concentric registers, relates the story of Creation from the Spirit above the Waters on the topmost register to the Labors of Adam and Eve on the lowest. The narrative then continues on the east lunette with the Conception of Cain , a scene directly aligned with the first scenes of each register in the cupola above (Fig. 1), and the Birth of Abel (Fig. 2), while the south lunette concludes their story (Fig. 3). Johan Jakob Tikkanen was the first to recognize a relationship between the mosaics and the miniatures of the Cotton Genesis, a manuscript illuminated


most likely in Alexandria in the later fifth century, but which burned in 1731.[2] Scholars now generally accept that this manuscript served as the primary visual model for the mosaic cycle.

How Do We Read It? Establishing a Syntax of Visual Language

As we enter through the right door of the west facade into the atrium, the pictorial cycle begins directly before us in the uppermost register of the dome. An abbreviated Latin text, legible from the floor below, appears above each register of scenes, paralleling the visual narrative. The text above the first half of the cycle comes directly from the Vulgate, although in much abbreviated form, while that above the second half is a newly generated text.[3] Yet the text is secondary to the pictorial scenes: although few medieval viewers could read Latin, almost all knew the story of Genesis and would have had no trouble finding the visual start of the cycle.[4] Tracing its easy movement from left to right and down from register to register would not be preconditioned in most cases by the viewers' abilities to read text on a page, but rather by their familiarity with the scenes and figures depicted. Even the angel-day personifications—one angel for the first day of Creation, two for the second, and so forth—lead the viewer, their vertical stances like the strokes of Roman numerals. Thus a visual reading pattern is established: we move from left to right and from top to bottom.

This overall pattern of movement is, of course, meaningful, for in following its unfolding we repeat the significant action of the story. It is a fall, and so, like our first parents, we descend the levels of the dome, from the more divine realm of gold above, to the darker and more mundane world of the lowest register. The first register of Creation relates the incidents of the first three days (Light and Darkness are separated; air and water are distinguished from the firmament; land emerges from the seas), and the second register includes parallel elaborations of those three in days four through six (creation of the sun and moon; of birds and marine creatures; of land creatures and Adam).[5] It is not coincidental that the lowest register is reserved for the creation of woman and the subsequent scenes of temptation, sin, punishment, and expulsion, all shown against a dark green foliage absent from the earlier, higher scenes. The depiction of Adam and Eve in bed actually conceiving Cain—an unfortunate event in human


Figure 1.
Detail of the Creation cupola and Conception of Cain in east lunette,
thirteenth century,  San Marco, Venice.


Figure 2.
East lunette, below the Creation cupola, with the Conception of Cain and Birth of Abel ,
San Marco, Venice.

history, rarely depicted in any cycle—and the birth of his brother Abel, are reserved for an even lower location in the east lunette below and conclude the story of the first couple.

The movement from left to right is also significant, for it helps to privilege via primacy the left side of the image (also called the picture's right , or the right side of the image from the vantage of the figures in the scene, a term used frequently in this book), a compositional device common in medieval art. Thus, superimposed on the left-to-right narrative movement is a traditional hierarchical system that values centrality and frontal views and honors the picture's right over its left.[6] The mosaicists used these devices knowingly and consistently to imbue their compositions with meaning.

Figural postures in these mosaics are neither generally expressive nor particularly naturalistic; rather, the poses are conventionalized and repetitive and must be understood within a medieval context wherein gestures


Figure 3.
South lunette, below the Creation cupola, with the Story of Cain and Abel ,
San Marco, Venice.

had legal power and written documents were often suspect.[7] Semiotic studies of gestures in the medieval world confirm that artists created systems of conventional gestures to express intended meaning.[8] Some gestures were more closely based on observed human body language, whether found in daily life—for example, those in the art of Giotto in the early fourteenth century—or in highly conventionalized ecclesiastical or court rituals. Others, like the adlocutio , or speaking, gesture in classical art (raised right hand), became conventions and were widely known to a variety of audiences over centuries. However, the premise for all of them is the same and helps to explain the almost obsessive interest in the state of one's body in medieval monasticism: the body on the exterior is a direct reflection of the soul on the interior. Whether one were a simple sinner or possessed by the Devil, this would be revealed through appearance, specifically through posture. Although symbolic gestures in art were not necessarily mimetic of those in life, medieval audiences—like our image-oriented culture today—were visually sophisticated in their understanding of these conventionalized postures and their moral implications. Viewers who were verbally illiterate could nonetheless recognize standard postures and arrangements of figures, and their visual memories would have been trained to note echoes of these in later episodes within a narrative, establishing


what could be called visual "similes" and "metaphors." The San Marco mosaics depend on exactly these skills of visual memory, of noticing similes and metaphors, and on understanding symbolic gestures and conventions.

The Omnipotent Deity

The first nine scenes concern the story of God and Creation prior to the making of Adam. The central questions posed here concern the nature of the Deity himself and the origin of evil. Discussion regarding God's nature arose from chapters 1–3 in the Genesis text itself, particularly because of the inconsistencies in the P and J versions. The P text (Gen. 1:1–2:3) characterizes an ideal and clearly benevolent Creator, omnipotent and omniscient, who generously forms a creature in his own image. This is the God who but speaks in order to create, confirms "that it was good," and blesses the creatures he makes. There exists also in the P text a sense of hierarchy in the world order, established by the formulaic movement from Day One through Day Seven, and by the command that the final creature made on Day Six will "have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the air, and the beasts, and the whole earth, and every creeping creature that moveth upon the earth" (Gen. 1:26). Yet this being seems irreconcilable with the J-text Deity who appears in the second, nonhierarchical account of Creation that begins in Genesis 2:4: a more human and inept God, whose inability to control his creatures challenges his omnipotence, and whose need to search among the animals for a proper helper for Adam and to call into the bushes after the hiding Adam and Eve seems to confirm his lack of omniscience. A further complication arises from the juxtaposition of the P and J deities: how could the all-controlling and benevolent Creator of the P text deny Adam and Eve access to the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, if that knowledge were good for them? And if the knowledge were not good, but evil, why would he have created it? The Cotton Genesis, the profusely illustrated and unabridged manuscript that was used as a model by the mosaicists, offers illuminations of both the P and the J versions. The artists of the San Marco mosaics, however, revised and eliminated parts of its narrative in favor of a more consistent and unified interpretation of the story. Their cycle depicts the powerful God of the P text yet offers a plausible explanation for the origins of evil from the J narrative.


Creation before Adam

Typical of medieval Creation cycles, San Marco's opens with the P text of chapter I. Given that the remainder of the scenes will methodically move from left to right, it is telling that the Spirit above the Waters (Plate 1, immediately below the central roundel) begins the sequence with a back-and-forth movement created by the lines of the amorphous waters below and behind the dove, while the dove itself seems to hover and move up and to the left. As yet there is no order or direction to Creation, and the composition reveals this chaos and timelessness. But the following scene, the Separation of Light from Darkness (Plate 3), is one of the most important in the series, for it immediately establishes conventions and hierarchical formulas used throughout the rest of the cycle.

Inspired by the P text, the mosaicists stand the omnipotent Creator at the left, the picture's right, in anthropomorphic form. He is the traditional Christ Logos—the Word Incarnate—of John 1:1, who holds a cross-scepter in his veiled left hand, wears a cruciform halo around his head, and raises his right hand in a gesture of both speech and action: "And God said: Be light made" (Gen. 1:3).[9] In the San Marco mosaics, this use of the Roman adlocutio gesture of a raised right hand, whether pointing with one finger, with two fingers extended, or open-palmed, generally indicates a spoken text from the Vulgate, cued there by the dixit or ait formula, "he said." The Creator also consistently uses his right hand to gesture and speak, clearly the proper way, as confirmed by the Tower of Babel (Fig. 4) mosaic in the nearby barrel vault in which the confusion of languages of Genesis 11 is expressed visually by the variety of right- and left-handed speaking gestures used by members of the crowd. Elsewhere in the mosaics, left-hand gestures indicate duplicity, spoken anger, or an admonition.[10] The few exceptional uses of left hands in this first cupola will be noted below.

In the Creation cupola, this preferred posture for the Creator is an ideological stance, representing authority and control. The Creator appears twenty times in the cupola; of these, he appears fifteen times at the picture's right (our left), in the position of primacy in terms of the left-to-right syntax (in one of these his posture parallels that of Adam, who stands further to the picture's right), gesturing toward the unfolding scene (e.g., Plates 3, 4, and 5, Figs. 5 and 7). In these, he functions as what I will call


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Figure 4.
Tower of Babel, west half of north vault, San Marco, Venice.

the active agent , the Creator who speaks by gesturing with his right hand, who thereby brings into being the objects of Creation and who directs the ongoing action of the universe.[11] The very repetition of this commanding figure helps to move the cycle from scene to scene, echoing the anaphora of the textual formula, "And God said." Any break in this pattern, of course, signals us to take careful note. We shall see below the significance of the three times that he is depicted as a more static, central figure in the scene (see Figs. 9, 25, and 26), as well as of the two highly unusual scenes where the mosaicists reverse the Creator so he stands to the pic-


ture's left, facing to our left (Plate 6 and left half of Plate 7). Particularly because these latter two postures are purposeful changes from the Cotton Genesis model, they carry significance.

The Separation of Light and Darkness (Plate 3) presents the first in a series of binaries and clarifies the method of creation God uses to establish them. Here the Creator separates two formerly unified things into opposing positive and privative elements, Light and the absence of all light, Darkness.[12] In the mosaic, we see the personification of the first day of Creation in the form of an angel with raised arms, who rises behind three concentric red circles representing Light and reaches its left arm into the shadows above the blue circles of Darkness. Deprived of light, the left arm and wing become totally blue; unusual in medieval art, the angel has become distinctly bicolored.

Augustine's ideas regarding Creation, pervasive throughout the Middle Ages but perhaps of special interest in thirteenth-century Venice,[13] influenced the San Marco mosaicists. For example, the presence of a single angelic form on the first day, succeeded by a pair for the second, a trio for the third, and so on, refers to Augustine's nontemporal understanding of the six days of Creation as angelic knowledge (in his De Genesi ad litteram ).[14] Not creators themselves, as some would have it, they instead observe God's Creation, receiving knowledge of all things created.

In his City of God (11.9), Augustine has additional ideas about the angels that are relevant to the San Marco Separation of Light and Darkness and thirteenth-century Venice. He identifies them with "heaven" and the "light which was called 'Day'" of Genesis 1:1 and 1:3–5 but also asserts that their division into two communities—the good and the bad, or the enlightened and unenlightened—occurred on this very first day of Creation, when God separated Light from Darkness (11.19). By the thirteenth century a variety of traditions existed regarding exactly when the good angels and fallen angels, led by the Archangel Michael and Lucifer, respectively, fought and separated, but the distinctly divided halves of this mosaic and the unusual bicoloration of the angel suggest that the San Marco mosaicists take this Augustinian approach to the origin of evil. Evil has already entered the world on the first day.

Questions regarding the source of evil, the nature of God, and the reasons for the Fall loomed large in twelfth- and thirteenth-century Europe, a time when the Manichean-inspired Catharist heresy was rampant in


southern France and northern Italy, and explain in part why Augustine's views were so significant at this time. The late medieval Catharists, or Al-bigensians, identified two creative forces in the world. One was essentially the Old Testament God, benevolent and the source for all good; the other was an equally powerful source of evil. For both the early Manicheans and their later followers, matter was entirely evil, marriage and pregnancy to be condemned, and salvation obtained only when the soul separated from the body. Augustine, who shared the late antique world's suspicion of the body and material desire, walked a very careful line in his defense of monotheism and the physical Creation, but it was he who successfully disputed the Manichean heretics in the late fourth and early fifth centuries with, among others, these very texts.

According to Augustine and reiterated by Aquinas in the later thirteenth century, possibly a few years later than the Genesis mosaics, evil is not the creation of a second being, but rather a privative state: the absence of good.[15] Stating that when God separated Light from Darkness, he also created the good and bad angels, Augustine explains that God permitted evil, not out of ignorance, but because of his wish for there to be free will. Evil, both among the angels and in humans, comes from a spirit that is defective, that is, deprived of knowledge, and finds its roots in pride and envy, sins that bear no relation to the world of matter. The Fourth Lateran Council of 1215—condemning the Cathars' supreme principle of evil—reiterated the orthodox position that evil comes from error, not from matter. "The Devil and the other demons were created by God with a good nature; but they themselves through their own agency became evil."[16] And Augustine had already centuries earlier assured his readers of God's omnipotence: "For He alone could make this discrimination ... before they fell, to foreknow that they would fall, and that, being deprived of the light of truth, they would abide in the darkness of pride."[17] The lit side of the angel in the San Marco mosaic, near the red light, represents the enlightened angels, while the blue side represents the fallen.[18] Two "equations" are immediately established that will remain valid for the rest of the mosaics:

Light = Red = Good Angels = Picture's Right Side = Truth;


Darkness = Blue = Fallen Angels = Picture's Left Side = Pride.


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Figure 5.
Creation of the Plants, detail of the Creation cupola, San Marco, Venice.

The recurrence of the Creator in the active-agent pose in seven of the first nine scenes establishes a rhythmic sense of the progression of Creation, as does the expanding number of angels who personify the successive days. Each appearance of the Creator corresponds with exactly one speech within the Genesis text (each indicated by dixit or ait: e.g. Gen. 1:6, 1:9, and 1:11). Possibly the raised hands of the angels refer to the enlightened angels who, according to Augustine, follow the command, "Praise ye Him, all His angels" (City of God 11.33), for Genesis 1–3 attributes no speech to the angels. Scenes four and five have no specific text above them and are two of only three scenes to include tituli within the pictorial field: TERRAM in the Separation of the Seas and the Dry Land , and LIGNV [M ] POMI in the Creation of the Plants (Fig. 5). In a change from the more extensively vegetated scene in the Cotton Genesis, the artist of this latter scene includes only a few fernlike plants on the grassy ground, iso-


lating two large fruit trees against the gold ground and highlighting their fruit with glistening white tesserae.[19] Thus, our attention is drawn to the earth, rather than the seas separated from it, and to the fruit trees, key elements for viewers well aware of future events.

The second register begins with the Creation of the Heavenly Bodies (see Plate 4), and the viewer is reminded of various of the opposing dualities as the red sun—associated with Light, the day, and the obedient angels—is to the picture's upper right, close to the Creator, while the blue moon—associated with Darkness, the night, and Lucifer—rests in a less honored part of the starry firmament, to the picture's bottom left. The Venetians' knowledge and love of the sea are reflected in the detail of the Creation of the Birds and Marine Creatures (Fig. 6),[20] a scene that reinforces the ideas of separation and opposition by the strict segregation of air and water creatures into distinct halves of the composition, followed by their blessing (see Plate 5). There God exhorts them to "increase and multiply" (Gen. 1:22), so his figure reappears with outstretched hand indicating speech, rather than a specific gesture of blessing. The creatures are shown as overlapping pairs of males and females, an invention of the thirteenth-century artists[21] and apparently a response to God's procreation command. These creatures seem to share a single body with two heads, creating a sense of visual unity and stressing the concept of coming together rather than that of separation and difference. The paired animals in the following Creation of the Terrestrial Animals (Fig. 7) similarly demonstrate unity between the sexes and stress via their matched appearances the appropriateness of their pairing, even though the Genesis text makes no mention of males and females, or even of multiplying.

Yet within this visual message of coupling, a singular animal is included, a serpent beneath the feet of the angels in the Blessing (see Plate 5). This creature lies at the center of a vertical axis that visually explains the origin of sin and the Serpent's pivotal role. This axis is formed when viewers below the cupola read images sequentially that are vertically proximate due to the registration, but narratively distant. This method of encouraging visual comparison, not available within the linear format of a manuscript like the Cotton Genesis, is a possibility within the cupola design, enhanced by the curved shape of the dome. Thus the Serpent's body in the Blessing lies below the blue Darkness, where Lucifer was created in the register above, and above the scene wherein he first appears in the narrative, the


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Figure 6.
Creation of the Birds and Marine Creatures, detail of the
Creation cupola, San Marco, Venice.

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Figure 7.
Creation of the Terres-trial Animals, detail of the
Creation cupola, San Marco, Venice.


Temptation of Eve (see Plate 1). His head rests immediately above the word "DECIPIT " ("deceives") in the titulus for that last-named scene. Compositionally the mosaicists created visual patterns of relationships, anticipating from the beginning what the final consequences will be. They also assure us that the Cathars are wrong; we see that the benevolent Deity created this Serpent in a state of innocence, even blessed him, and yet—through free will, as Augustine established centuries earlier—he became the agent of proud Lucifer and deceived Eve.

Made in God's Image: Adam

The Forming of Adam (Fig. 8) is remarkable in its depiction of a single male human, because the singular form again contrasts with the mostly paired creatures who came before him. It also offers a clarifying visual gloss to a historically ambiguous section of the Vulgate, which describes a paired, two-sexed creature: "So God created a human in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." This famous "first" Creation of Genesis 1:27, by the P author, is ambiguous in Latin but clearer in the Hebrew and has been discussed at length by rabbis, theologians, and scholars for more than two thousand years. This is not the place to reproduce those many arguments, but to note two facts about the text. First, both the Hebrew and Latin texts for Genesis 1:27 use a term indicating a singular human creature, with no reference to sex (adam and homo ), but then immediately refer in the plural to a male and a female. Second, whether this creature is singular or plural, without sex or bisexual, it is what is made in the image of the Deity, and this is never said about the creatures in the second Genesis Creation.[22]

The mosaicists of San Marco, faced with the problem of a missing folio in their model and an ambiguous text, avoided depicting either an unsexed human or a two-sexed creature, even while using an abbreviated inscription from Genesis 1:27 above their mosaic. This titulus omits any reference to difference ("male and female"), stressing instead the unity between the Deity and the creature: "FACIAMVS HOMINEM AD IMAGINEM ET SIMILITVDINEM NOSTRAM " (Let us make a human in our image and likeness). For their visual model, they turned to a later folio in the Cotton Genesis, for, like many artists before and after them, they chose to envision the less ambiguous text of the J Creation of Genesis 2:7 and 2:22, which they


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Figure 8.
Forming of Adam, detail of the Creation cupola,
San Marco, Venice.

interpreted as indicating a male figure made first, from clay, followed by the separation of a woman from his side.[23] Thus the mosaicists, retaining the text and narrative location of Genesis 1:27, chose to ignore any sexual ambiguity implied in either account of Creation and insisted that the figure made in the image of the Deity was a single male figure formed from the clay of the earth.

The scene of Adam's forming is barren, for according to the second Genesis account, the body is made from clay prior to the planting of Eden in the east. The Genesis text includes no speech by God preceded by the dixit or ait formula, and so the Creator here does not gesture to speak but instead works with two hands to form the right arm of Adam. This is the first time we have seen the Deity as physically active, working by material action rather than by verbal command. This may explain why the Creator is seated on a golden, jeweled throne: the action of forming Adam from clay is so mundane and humble—in Hebrew, the verb used is a potter's


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Figure 9.
Blessing of the Seventh Day, detail of the
Creation cupola, San Marco, Venice.

term; in Latin, the simple formavit —that the artists feel the need to reassure the viewer that this is still the regal Lord God of Heaven.

Seemingly out of place, but textually in sequence following the Genesis 1:27 account of Creation, the Blessing of the Seventh Day interposes itself between the forming and the animation of Adam (see Plate 1; Fig. 9). Lacking the dixit or ait formula, the Creator does not speak with his right hand but lays it on the head of the personified seventh day, blessing it before the other six. Again the Creator is enthroned, but this time the composition is governed by a hierarchical style and is symmetrical, static, and frozen in time. The Cotton Genesis miniature did not follow this format,[24] but the thirteenth-century artist, sensitive to the meaning of the scene, recalls that God's resting on the seventh day was the cause of the blessing and evokes this "resting" compositionally. However, this is no human in repose—he is not limp or obviously tired—but a Deity majestically enthroned. Once again, the visual syntax tells us how to read the


scenes, for, for the first time since Creation began, the viewer is not rushed along from left to right but stops before the centralized and frontal Deity, as though finally a punctuational period were depicted in the visual text.

The Animation of Adam (see Plate 6), where God gives to Adam his animus or soul in the form of a psyche, awkwardly rekindles the narrative by placing Adam in the first position in the composition and reverses the figure of the Deity in the second position, to the picture's left. Composition-ally this is one of the most remarkable scenes in the series, because it abruptly interrupts and then redirects the narrative flow, causing it now to move from the viewer's right to left. At the same moment that the Genesis text suddenly shifts to the J section, seemingly repeating itself with a second account of Creation, so do the mosaicists reverse the flow, returning the viewer to the earlier forming and speeding up the tempo.[25] The reversed position of this unusually active and energetic Deity (he again does not speak) encourages our eyes to run back across the symmetrical Blessing to the Forming of Adam , and then return to the Animation . We are reminded emphatically that only when Adam receives his soul has he become fully "like" God. The phrase "in the image" was certainly understood in the Middle Ages as a reference, not to Adam's physicality—even though images express this idea in physical likeness—but to Adam's rational soul.[26] No longer clay-colored and small, he now stands erect and in the position usually occupied by the Creator. The mosaicists have substituted a dualist, two-stage creation for the original four scenes of Adam's creation in the Cotton Genesis,[27] thus highlighting only two events—the making first of Adam's body and then of his soul. The reversal of the latter composition signals that we are to review this section of the narrative, for the moments of God's forming of Adam's body and his gift of a soul are high points of God's Creation.

The mosaicists' consistent use of a visual syntax clarifies the ambiguity of the Genesis 1:27 text by demonstrating Adam's similarity to God. Of Adam's fifteen appearances in the cycle, he stands four times in the active-agent pose at the picture's right; two other times he parallels the Creator in God's typical pose and appears next to him, second in the scene, and still at the picture's right; another two times, in compositions where the Creator is frontal and centralized, Adam is again at the picture's (and God's) honored right side; and an additional two times Adam appears at the center, closer than Eve to the Creator at the picture's right. In only


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Figure 10.
Introduction of Adam into Paradise, detail of the
Creation cupola, San Marco, Venice.

three scenes is he distinctly at the picture's left: at the fateful moment when he first meets Eve and calls her "Woman" (see Fig. 19); when he takes the fruit from Eve and sins (see Fig. 20); and when he labors after his Fall (see Plate 2). Eve's postures, as we will see, are so unlike the Creator's that the mosaicists' visual answer to the textually generated question, "Who was made in the image of God?" is clear from the very beginning: Adam, but certainly not Eve.

The second register ends with another gift from God to the first man, his introduction into the bucolic Garden of Paradise (Fig. 10). With his right hand, God pulls Adam through the clearly labeled Porta Paradisi into his lush Garden and, with his left, gestures toward the two prominent trees. Adam is again granted the honored first position in the composition, but God acts as his guide, eagerly leading him forward, their two figures moving parallel to each other. The trees are those of Life and of Knowledge, located


at the center of Paradise, and the four personifications of the Rivers of Paradise appropriately lie beneath them.

The first tree is certainly the Tree of Life.[28] Honored by its compositionally more central position and proximity to the Deity, this tree remains consistent in form throughout the mosaics (compare Plates 2 and 7 and Fig. 24). It is ironic, but not unusual in medieval art, that the form of the more dangerous tree, the one that needed above all else to be identified by our first parents, changes throughout the cycle. It is first alluded to by the two apple trees in the upper register's Creation of the Plants (see Fig. 5); it reappears three times in later scenes with striking blue foliage, although each time varying slightly (see Plates 7 and 11 and Fig. 24); and when Eve finally plucks the fruit, it is botanically identifiable as a fig tree (see Fig. 20). Here, in Adam's introduction into Eden, it is a relatively undistinguished green tree. Yet its sinister quality is suggested by the mosaicists' prominent inclusion of left-handed gestures. In an almost certain thirteenth-century alteration of the model, the four river personifications raise their left hands and point toward the Tree of Knowledge.[29] More remarkable, however, is God's gesture with his left hand. If, as Weitzmann believes, this is a conflation of two scenes in the Cotton Genesis, the Introduction and God's Admonition to Adam , then this could be interpreted as a speech gesture referring to Genesis 2:16, where God commands Adam not to eat, for he will die.[30] If so, it is the only time in the Genesis mosaics that God speaks with his left hand. Although the narrative has once again picked up and moves comfortably from left to right, the five gesturing left hands cause the viewer to anticipate well in advance the point in the narrative when that tree will play a sinister role in human destiny. Viewers standing below the cupola are once again encouraged to look for proximities created by the registration of the dome (Fig. 11). Directly above Adam's introduction into Paradise and the admonition is the Creation of the Plants , including the first reference to a garden and the Tree of Knowledge, while directly below is the Expulsion , where Adam and Eve are finally expelled from that same garden.


Figure 11.
Northeast corner of the Creation cupola, showing vertical alignment of scenes,
San Marco, Venice.


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