Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

Thirza embraces Abel
  • Nicolas Colibert, artist
    circa 1750–1806
    born: Paris, France ; died: London, England, United Kingdom
    Nicolas André Monsiau
    born: Paris, France ; died: Paris, France
  • Thirza embraces Abel, 1793
  • La Mort d'Abel, by Salomon Gessner
  • Where object was made: France
  • engraving, stippling, à la poupée
  • Image Dimensions Height/Width: 213 x 145 mm
    Sheet/Paper Dimensions: 332 x 274 mm
    Image Dimensions Height/Width: 8 3/8 x 5 11/16 in
    Sheet/Paper Dimensions: 13 1/16 x 10 3/4 in
    Mat Dimensions: 19 x 14 in
  • Source unknown
  • Not on display
  • 0000.0766
Catalogue raisonné

This is not an image of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden; Gessner's "La Mort d'Abel" 1793, Defer de Maisonneuve), for which it was written, begins long after the expulsion, when Cain and Abel are adults, and already married. On page 15 of an 1806 English edition of this book (in Spencer Research Library), Abel and his wife Thirza are described, taking shelter in a shady grove. Thus, the image represents Abel and Thirza. This conclusion is supported by the presence of clothing on the couple, which would have been incorrect in a scene of Eden, by the presence of others (in background), who could not have been present in Eden, and by the youth of the figures: Adam and Eve are old when the story begins.