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April 6: a favorite: Ensor’s “Expulsion”

"Christ's Entry into Brussels in 1889" 1889 [Wikimedia Commons]
“Christ’s Entry into Brussels in 1889” 1889 [Wikimedia Commons]

James Ensor (1860-1949) is best known for ebullient mindscapes such as “Christ’s Entry Into Brussels in 1889”, full of caricatures and wacky juxtapositions.

But I do love his “Adam and Eve Expelled from Paradise,” painted two years before (at the age of twenty-seven!). As narration, it’s pretty standard; you have your angel in the sky and the two naughty ones in flight. But the rhapsodicly Paradisical coloring and the soft, almost abstract rendering keep the event on a remote, mythical plane–as opposed to Michaelangelo’s rendition below—

"Adam and Eve Expelled from Paradise" 1887 []
“Adam and Eve Expelled from Paradise” 1887 []
—where the couple seems sadly prosaic, like shoplifters being run out of the corner store.

"Expulsion" 1509 detail [Wikimedia Commons]
“Expulsion” 1509 detail [Wikimedia Commons]