The Tree of Life


Permanent Collection of the New Britain Museum of American Art

“Behold Man has become like the Unique One among us, knowing good and bad; and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the Tree of Life, and eat and live forever!”...

The center panel of this painting shows the tree of life which stood in the center of the Garden of Eden surrounded by the branches of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Each of the side panels shows a cellular burst being nurtured directly by the tree of life.

The medieval commentary of the Tur mentions that the branches of the Tree of Knowledge encircled the Tree of Life so that they visually merged and therefore only after partaking of the fruits of the former could one approach the latter tree.

Rabbi Judah bar Ilai noted that the Tree of Life spread its branches over all things alive and all the primeval waters branched out in streams from under it.

View Full Resolution Image