Courtesy Leonard Greenberg/©2001 ARS, New York/ADAGP, Paris

The bored bourgeoisie. Marc Chagall (1887–1985) depicted Adam and Eve as a disaffected middle-class couple seated listlessly at a table; the man has turned an indifferent shoulder toward his wife, his face in shadow. She inclines her head, as if asking a question. Among the dark and muted tones of this painting only the apples that the woman offers to her estranged husband are brightly colored.

For Adam, as for Chagall, the Creation is a mundane event and Eden a place of discontent. Adam was unimpressed with the partner that God had created for him. Twice he expresses his disdain for her with the disparaging pronoun “this.”