Expulsion from the Garden of Eden
Having displeased the Lord by eating forbidden fruit that gave them knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve were expelled from Eden. Rather than describing their anguish through pose and expression, as artists traditionally had done, Cole told the story through the landscape, contrasting Paradise, lush and tropical, with the harsh, violent, external world. Adam and Eve are almost swallowed up by the natural drama and seem propelled from Paradise by a shaft of light representing God's power. This picture was exhibited first at the National Academy of Design, in 1828, and established Cole as one of the most gifted artists working in the United States.