Michele Rocca Figurative Painting - The Temptation of Adam and Eve & The Expulsion from Paradise (a Pair)
See this artwork in context
View In Room
1 of 4 images

Michele Rocca
The Temptation of Adam and Eve & The Expulsion from Paradise (a Pair)


When exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in 1992 Perrin Stein authored the following entry on the present paintings: Little is known today of the life and art of Michele Rocca. From Nicola Pio's short biography of the artist (published in 1724), it is known that he was born in Parma in 1666 and came to Rome at the age of sixteen to study with Ciro Ferri, an assistant and follower of Pietro do Cortona. Rocca returned briefly to his native city to study the works of Correggio, but was back in Rome in the 1690s, when he is documented as having executed several large church altarpieces. Recent research has established Rocca’s presence in Rome through 1727. After that, nothing further is known of Rocca’s whereabouts until he is mentioned as having resided in Venice in 1751. Rather early in his career, Rocca seems to have abandoned large-scale church decoration in favor of small, brilliantly colored cabinet pictures, which he presumably made for private collectors. A sizable group of these unsigned religious and mythological scenes has been attributed to Rocca on the basis of style. However, their stylistic consistency makes the establishment of a chronology difficult. The present pair of canvases depict The Temptation of Adam and Eve and The Expulsion from Paradise (Genesis 3:6 and 3:24). Although the subjects of the Temptation and the Expulsion were not common in eighteenth-century art, they suited the format established by Rocca for his cabinet pictures, which tended to feature a few nude figures in a pastoral setting, typically in a vertical composition. In The Temptation, Eve is shown standing, seen from the back, as she hands the forbidden fruit to Adam, who is reclining on the hillside. Responsible for Eve's temptation, Satan is shown in the form of a human-headed serpent coiling around the Tree of Knowledge. In the pendant, a chastened and shamed Adam and Eve are banished from Eden by an angel bearing a sword of fire. In both canvases, the landscapes are freely painted in the light blues and greens typical of the Rococo period. Successful compositions were occasionally repeated by Rocca. In the present case, he made a close version of The Expulsion, with the addition of garlands of leaves to accommodate Adam and Eve’s newfound modesty (Hartford, Wadsworth Atheneum). Rocca’s role in the development of the Rococo style has been the subject of art-historical debate. His luminous, clear colors and painterly handling, as well as the small-scale format and pleasant subject matter of his paintings, are consistent with the new style emerging in Rome and elsewhere in the early decades of the eighteenth century, and these qualities initially contributed to the view of Rocca as an early follower of the new manner. However, recent scholarship (see Sestieri 1973) has shown Rocca’s “Rococo” style to predate many of the painters previously thought to have influenced him, and instead presents Rocca as a precocious petit maître of the Rococo style who was formed by his native Parma as well as by the late Baroque work of Luca Giordano, Francesco Trevisani, and Carlo Maratta, whom he would have encountered in his Roman milieu. In addition to the variant Expulsion from Paradise in Hartford, another version of the Temptation of Adam and Eve by Rocca, formerly in the collection of Julius Held, recently appeared at auction. A painting thought to be a bozzetto for the Hartford painting was formerly in the Rossacher Collection, Salzburg.


  • Artist
    Michele Rocca (1670 - 1751, Italian)
  • Creation year
  • Condition
  • Dimensions

    H 18.25 in. x W 13.5 in.

    H 46.36 cm x W 34.29 cm

  • Gallery location
    New York, NY
  • Reference number

Shipping, Returns & Payment

  • Online Payment Methods
    1stdibs accepts the following payment methods
  • Item Invoice
    Generate an invoice that you can customize and print.

About the Seller

1stdibs seller since 2012
Typical response time: 214 hrs
Located in New York, NY
You may also contact the seller by phoneCall seller through 1stdibs
More From This Seller
David with the Head of Goliath
Pietro Dandini
Canvas, Oil
Provenance: Private Collection, Santa Fe, NM The figure of David was, as is well known, particularly popular in the city of Florence during the Renaissance period. Numerous paint...
Ezekiel in the Valley of Dry Bones
Burne-Jones, Philip
Canvas, Oil
Provenance: Sale, Christie’s, London, March 3, 1922, lot 46 (with The Tower of Babel); James Nicoll Private Collection Sale, Sotheby’s, London, March 29, 1983, lot 157 Private...
Job Cursed by His Wife
Giovanni Battista Langetti
Canvas, Oil
Provenance: Alfred (1883-1961) and Hermine Stiassni (1889-1962), Brno, Czech Republic, by 1925; thence London, 1938-1940; thence Los Angeles, 1940-1962; thence by descent to: ...
Holy Family with Saint Catherine of Alexandria
Prospero Fontana
Canvas, Oil
Born in Bologna in 1512, Prospero Fontana's early training began in the workshop Innocenzo da Imola, a decidely Raphaelesque follower of Francia. Though his first signed painting was...
You May Also Like
Mother Holding Twins
Canvas, Oil
Size 29"x19" framed 34"x24"x2" Mother holding twins. 19Th Century possibly Austrian oil on canvas, unsigned in the style of the Old Masters, depicting Mother with twins in her arms ...
Difficult Crossing
Joseph de Groot
Canvas, Oil
Artist/maker: De Groot Origin/country: European School Medium: Oil on canvas Dimensions: Height: 31” x Width: 23” Date/period: 19th Century Item Description: Mother and Child crossi...
Romulus and Remus 18th century Origin of Rome o...
Canvas, Oil
Stunning late c.18th or early c.19th century painting depicts Romulus and Remus suckling from the she-wolf. Oil o canvas measures 30 x 40 inches; 36 x 46 inches framed. Signed illegi...
Portrait of the Chinese craftsman and dwarf Tjo...
Sally Philipsen
Canvas, Oil
Portrait painting by Sally Philipsen 1879 - 1936 Portrait of the Chinese craftsman and dwarf Tjong Fu’hk Wong Waih. Signed and dated Sally Philipsen 1904. Oil on canvas. Size; 130 x ...
"Libatio" wine serve
Jan Boeckhorst
Canvas, Oil
Jan Boeckhorst was born in Munster (Germany) Westphalia as the second oldest of twelve children. His family belonged to Munster's highly respected citizens and his father Heinrich wa...
The tavern scene
David Teniers the Younger
Canvas, Oil
Through his father, David Teniers the Younger was indirectly influenced bij Elsheimer and by Rubens. The influence of Adrian Brouwer can be traced to the outset of his career. There ...
La halte dans un port
Jean Duplessis Bertaux
Canvas, Oil
This painting finds itself in a very good condition. An attribution to Jean Duplessis-Bertaux is legitimate. Provenance : Private collection The Netherlands.
Portrait of Martha Seymer as Modesty
Francis Cotes
Canvas, Oil
Portrait of Martha Seymer as Modesty Oil painting on canvas 30 x 25 inches (76 x 64cm) Contained in its original carved and gilded Georgian swept frame Provenance: By family dec...

Why Shop on 1stdibs?

Learn More

Only Vetted, Professional Sellers

Buyer Protection Guaranteed

Fully Insured Global Deliveries