Adam and Eve discovering the body of Abel

1858
Oil on cardboard
H. 30,3 cm x W. 24,7 cm

After two unsuccessful attempts, Henner won the Grand Prix de Rome in 1858 with Adam and Eve discovering the body of Abel. In the sketch on display in the museum, the painter incorporates all the elements of the painting, which today is held at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. The theme of the competition was inspired by a scene from Genesis, when Adam and Eve discover the lifeless body of their son Abel, who has been killed by his brother, Cain. Delighted that the subject did not require an elaborate historical reconstruction, Henner wrote to his former teacher, Charles Goutzwiller: "As for me, I could not have chosen a subject better suited to my nature, which does not mean that I am making a masterpiece."