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

Uzziah - Jotham - Ahaz

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

"Joram begat Uzziah. Uzziah begat Jotham. Jotham begat Ahaz." (Matthew 1:8-9)

The symmetry of the poses of the principal figures appears to be studied: the torsos of both are seen frontally, but they face outward in opposite directions. The boy in the foreground, in front of the woman, reinforces the plastic equilibrium of the scene; and there is decidedly sculptural and monumental emphasis in the two groups that seem to be compressed into the limited space of the lunette.

Under a loose green mantle, the man on the left - traditionally considered to be Jotham accompanied by his son Ahaz - is wearing a yellow tunic with lilac shadows on the shoulder and arm; these echo the colour of his cap, which is tied to his head with purple ribbons. In a relaxed attitude, leaning forward with his arm resting in his lap, he gazes with parted lips at a point that the boy behind him is indicating. The right part of the lunette is dominated by the tonality of the heavy reddish-orange mantle with deep yellow shadows that the woman presses to her breast. Although her gaze is not directed at them, she seems to be protective toward the two children by her.