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

The Cumaean Sibyl

Fresco, 375 x 380 cm
Cappella Sistina, Vatican

The Cumaean Sibyl oppresses by the sheer weight of her bulk and a commanding ugliness. With the open folio bound in green and her two genii gazing at its pages over her shoulders she has become one of the Fates, a towering shape with human features. Whenever Sibyls are mentioned, the Cumaea at once comes to mind. In the art of Michelangelo and other painters her powerful presence overshadows every other Sibyl, even her younger and more beautiful sisters, such as the Delphica.