(b. 1423, Castagno, d. 1457, Firenze)

Famous Persons: The Cumean Sibyl

c. 1450
Fresco transferred to wood, 250 x 154 cm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

The picture shows one of the three famous women represented in the cycle.

The Cumaean SibyI, wrapped in a wide red cloak with metallic highlights on the folds, also represents the same heroic ideals as the commanders. The severity of her face, which is both beautiful and dignified, together with her raised right hand, is the sign of the gravity of her prophecies.

A famous collection of sibylline prophecies, the Sibylline Books, was traditionally offered for sale to Tarquinius Superbus, the last of the seven kings of Rome, by the Cumaean sibyl. He refused to pay her price, so the sibyl burned six of the books before finally selling him the remaining three at the price she had originally asked for all nine. The books were thereafter kept in the temple of Jupiter on the Capitoline Hill, to be consulted only in emergencies.