100 euro: The Sistine Chapel - The Banishment from the Garden of Eden
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Between 1508 and 1512 Michelangelo painted a series of frescoes on the vault of the Sistine Chapel in which he narrates the history of creation and of original sin. The second Vatican 100 euro gold coin depicts the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, one of the nine paintings on the vault. In this fresco, Michelangelo depicts side by side both the story of original sin and the expulsion from the Garden of Eden, two separate episodes recounted in the Bible but shown together in the fresco. The work highlights the seriousness of sin and the irreparable consequences it can have. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil divides the two scenes: on one side the serpent offers the forbidden fruit, and on the other side, Adam and Eve are expelled by the Archangel Gabriel. Michelangelo masterfully depicts the drama of the new human condition which results, showing an expression of suffering on their faces with their bodies twisted, crushed by the weight of the sin just committed. The background is no longer one of a lush paradise, but one of a deserted and hostile land which evokes feelings of sadness and abandonment.