(b. 1475, Caprese, d. 1564, Roma)

The Erythraean Sibyl

Fresco, 360 x 380 cm
Cappella Sistina, Vatican

The Erythraea (Erithraea in Michelangelo's spelling), is richly dressed and pensively turns the pages of a book, while one of her genii lights a votive lamp. The other echoes her state of trance. It is as though she were under somé deep compulsion to rouse herself. The strange headdress threaded with her abundant tresses lends the head with its heavy-lidded eyes a dream-like quality. There is no indication of the Judgment she foresaw. Perhaps its only signs are the scared eyes of the ignudo to the left above her throne, who appears overcome by some frightful vision.