In the last year of his studies under professor Carl Kundmann (1838−1919) in 1896, Ivan Zajec started working on a plaster cast of Adam and Eve, showing the work at exhibitions in Ljubljana and Zagreb four years later. The sculptor's estate holds the original copy of his professor's assessment, dated to 20 July 1896: "In this sophisticated and fascinatingly made group of life-sized figures of Adam and Eve, [the sculptor] has again proven his capacity for beauty and originality, and has further made significant progress in his understanding of the human form." The sculptor himself donated the composition to the Provincial Museum before 1902, from where the cast went to the National Gallery in 1934. In 1955, the National Gallery had the plasters cast in bronze, and the original heads of Adam and Eve are preserved.
This monumental and realistically sculpted figural composition with a biblical motif was heavily influenced by Italian early Renaissance painting (Masaccio) and sculpture. Adam’s form is classically calm, upright, and muscular, with bowed head, clenched left fist, and grim look, as his right hand embraces the shamed and crouched Eve. The two are depicted as in motion, banished from the Garden of Eden and entering into an uncertain future. The snake crawling along the ground on the statue’s base is hardly noticeable, despite its centrality to the legend inspiring the motif and despite being entirely analogous to Zajec’s previous academic work Startled Satyr (Prestrašeni Satir, NG P 406).