From the mid-1940s Newman had been preoccupied with the Jewish myths of Creation. The vertical strips in his paintings may relate to certain traditions that present God and man as a single beam of light. The name Adam, which in the Old Testament was given to the first man, derives from the Hebrew word adamah (earth), but is also close to adom, (red) and dam (blood). The relationship between brown and red in this painting may therefore symbolise man's intimacy with the earth.
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