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

Azor - Zadok (detail)

Cappella Sistina, Vatican

On the right side of the lunette, seen sideways on, but with his head turned toward the viewer, sits a solitary mature man, his face furrowed by deep lines. Tightly wrapped in his yellow ochre mantle, from which only his head and an arm emerge, he appears to be prey to distressing thoughts. The body, modelled concisely with great plastic power by the interplay of light and shade, and the pattern of the folds of the mantle, stands out clearly against the background.

The number of figures present in this lunette is half that of the first lunettes painted by Michelangelo. This sense of isolation intensifies the expressive power of the figure of the pensive man, which some interpreted as being an imaginary self-portrait of the artist.