Jef Lambeaux was arguably the most important Belgian sculptor of the late 19th century. The present marble exemplifies his highly original oeuvre, with a seemingly subversive representation of Eve as a snake charmer, as opposed to the victim of the snake's temptation. The woman's angular features, combined with a softly modelled, supple physique, are characteristic of Lambeaux's idiosyncratic style. Her languid pose, mirrored by the snake writhing against her leg, creates a deeply sensuous image.
Born in Antwerp in 1852, Joseph Maria Thomas (Jef) Lambeaux studied at the Academy, working in particular in the workshop of Joseph Geefs. He trained in Paris for three years and frequented Rome and Florence, where he was greatly inspired by Baroque masterpieces. First exhibiting in the Antwerp Salon in 1873 and in Brussels in 1880, he won the gold medal in 1881 at the Brussels Exhibition. He is best known for his Fountain of Brabo in Antwerp and the colossal relief of the Passion de l'Humanite in the Parc du Centenaire, in Brussels. His famous sculpture The Kiss (1882) was purchased by the Antwerp Museum.