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

Achim - Eliud

1511-12
Fresco, 215 x 430 cm
Cappella Sistina, Vatican

"Zadok begat Achim. Achim begat Eliud. Eliud begat Eliazar." (Matthew 1:14-15)

This is the first lunette on the south wall.

The identity of the figures is not certain, and it is not possible to establish which of the two, Achim or Eliud, is the old man with a child next to him on the left, and which the child held by his mother on the right.

The elaborate pose of the old man is very carefully constructed with vigorous twisting of the limbs. The sculptural effect of the figure is largely due to the prominence of the knees and the crossed arms, with the right elbow projecting notably and the hands folded in toward the body. This effect is heightened by the magnificent arrangement of the drapery, especially on the left knee and over the edge of the stone seat.

The meditative attitude of the old man is counterbalanced on the other side of the lunette by the fascinating spontaneity of the woman's gestures. Turning toward her child, she stretches out her arm to take some food from a plate placed on a stool in the foreground.