Museums and Art

Eritrean Sibyl by Michelangelo Buonarroti - Description

Eritrean Sibyl by Michelangelo Buonarroti - Description

Eritrean Sibyl - Michelangelo Buonarroti. Fresco.

The Eritrean Sibyl is a fortuneteller who predicted the beginning of the Trojan War, the fall of Troy, the flight of Aeneas from the dying city, the foundation of Rome and the prosperity of the empire. In addition, she was known as the author of numerous works on the work of the human body and predictions regarding the future of different countries and peoples.

On the fresco, the artist depicted a woman sitting half-turned to the viewer and carefully studying a huge tome. He lies in front of her on a wooden music stand, covered with a fabric with a patterned border and fringe.

Sibyl is depicted in a typical Michelangelo style. This is a somewhat masculine woman with a graceful head and beautiful features, but powerful muscles in her arms and strong calves. She sits cross-legged, freely lowering one hand along the body, and the second leafing through a book. She has a complex hairstyle from various braids and weaves, a concentrated expression on her face and lush, multi-layered and multi-colored dresses.

Behind the Sibyl, the ubiquitous Putti baby is weighing something on a hand-held scale - maybe the chemical elements needed to prophesy, or maybe the sins of the soothsayer's clients.

The color scheme of the mural is designed in the same vein as the rest of the Sibyl images. This is a light, neutral background, depicting the stone steps of the pedestal, and quite saturated colors of the character’s clothes. All colors are organically combined with each other, and the figures look not just monumental, but even sculptural. They are so vividly portrayed that they seem voluminous and even mobile.

The artist’s skill must also be evaluated from the point of view of the incredible complexity of performing such an image, because this is a ceiling - the ceiling of the chapel, located at high altitude. The master had to do all the work lying on his back, while respecting the proportions and the smallest details. This is truly a titanic work.


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