After yesterday’s dalliance with a notorious biblical woman, I thought I’d continue the theme today with another biblical character who, like Delilah, is often labelled a femme fatale. Eve has gotten a bad rap ever since she first bit into that forbidden fruit and passed it to Adam (Genesis 3) – but in Gustave Moreau‘s painting, who could resist such a gorgeous creature? She stands amidst a rich background of sumptuous colour, hair hanging down like a rippling golden curtain, looking rather coy and unsure, as the strange, winged serpent-demon whispers words of persuasion into her ear. Like many Eves in art from the fin de siècle period, Moreau’s Eve seems to act in a vaguely flirtatious manner with the serpent – she’s less afraid of it than coquettish and intrigued. Her hand rests gently beside it in a gesture of intimacy…and is there just the vaguest hint of a smile playing around her mouth?