Dürer based Adam’s pose on the Apollo Belvedere, a Roman sculpture discovered in Italy during the late 1400s. He constructed the idealized bodies of Adam and Eve using geometry and a mathematical system of proportion loosely derived from ancient models. For Dürer, who mostly depicted Christian subjects, the creation of theoretically perfect human bodies was a pathway to comprehending the divine. He thus represented Adam and Eve as he understood them in both theological and artistic terms: moments before tasting the forbidden fruit, they are still uncorrupted by sin and death, existing in a state of faultless beauty.
(Text courtesy of The Cleveland Museum of Art)