The Sin (German: Die Sünde) is an 1893 painting by the German artist Franz Stuck. It depicts the nude Eve with a large serpent wrapped around her body. In the upper right corner is a bright field, while the rest of the surroundings are dark.
The motif was conceived as a development of Stuck's 1889 painting Sensuality (Die Sinnlichkeit). The Sin was first exhibited in 1893, at the inaugural exhibition of the Munich Secession, where it caused a sensation. It was bought by the Neue Pinakothek in Munich and became a critical and commercial breakthrough for Stuck. It has since become an emblematic painting for the symbolist movement.
Stuck created twelve known versions of the painting. Some of these can be viewed at the Neue Pinakothek in Munich, the National Gallery in Berlin, the Galleria di arte Moderna in Palermo, the Frye Art Museum in Seattle, and at the Villa Stuck in Munich, where it is enshrined in the artist's Künstleraltar.
The Sin provides examples of:
- Allegory: Being one of the first paintings of the Symbolist Movement (a movement that focuses on the interior self by its very design), the painting was deliberately made to symbolize the nature of sin. Based off of Eve (a woman in Abrahamic religions was responsible for introducing original sin to mankind) and the snake that tempted her (the beast that introduced and tempted Eve into it), the woman's nude physique acts as a lure to the viewer while the snake is ready to strike, partially hidden in her hair and shadows. This is symbolic of the nature of sin; an attractive thing that tempts you into accepting it, only to corrupt and poison you.
- Chiaroscuro: The intense juxtaposition of Eve's white skin and the black of the snakes and the shadows are meant to emphasize Eve's attractive form as as the snake hides in the darkness, ready to strike.
- Dark Is Evil: The Obviously Evil snake is black and dark-grey that blends into the darkness of Eve's hair and the shadow she is hiding in.
- Embodiment of Vice: As the name implies, the figure is meant to act as an Anthropomorphic Personification of sin as a concept. While it is meant to represent sin in-general, emphasis can be place on Lust since the lighter parts of the painting draw attention to Eve's breasts and naval.
- Femme Fatale: The Femme Fatale is an archetype that was commonly used by the Symbolists. Here, Eve is portrayed almost Lilith-like in how the shadows frame her as this voluptuous lure of physical delights, a far cry from the passive waif Abrahamic art usually portrays her as.
- Snakes Are Sinister: Considering it is the snake that first tempted Eve in Genesis, the snake is Obviously Evil in design.