Erich Lessing

Cain’s life is magnificently depicted on this bronze relief on the door of the Baptistery in Florence. Crafted by Lorenzo Ghiberti (1378–1455), the scene encapsulates Genesis 4:1–16. At upper left we see the infants Cain and Abel with their parents, Adam and Eve. Moving down and slightly to the right, Abel and his dog tend sheep while, at bottom left, Cain plows with two oxen, At upper right the two brothers offer sacrifices to God—Cain’s the harvest of his crop, Abel’s the firstborn of his flock. Enraged by the rejection of his offering and the acceptance of his brother’s, Cain murders Abel (middle right)—the first homicide. At bottom right Cain, condemned to wander the earth, begins his journey to the land of Nod, east of Eden.