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

Jesse - David - Solomon

Fresco, 215 x 430 cm
Cappella Sistina, Vatican

"Obed begat Jesse. Jesse begat King David. King David begat Solomon by the wife Uria. Solomon begat Rehoboam." (Matthew 1:5-7)

The lunette is between the Libyan Sibyl and Daniel.

Traditionally it is believed that David is the principal figure on the left, while Solomon is the child with a veiled head behind him who holds out what may be a ritual offering on a small tray; Bathsheba is the woman on the right. If this is correct, then Jesse must be the child depicted, together with his parents, in the spandrel above.

David's pose - his head and torso are seen frontally, his pelvis and legs are turned slightly to the left - stresses his physical strength and his awesome sense of dominion, and this is accentuated by the contrast with the minute figure of his son and the thin, bent one of the woman.

He is wearing clothes in Oriental style: a green cap-cum-hood hanging down over his shoulders, resembles the Arab kaffiyeh; the upper part of his robe is rose, the lower part yellow. His arms are folded across his chest and, with his left hand, he holds the edge of a white cloth, possibly also having a ritual function, spread over his knees. His hand, modeled with remarkable energy, and the folds of the lower part of the robe, emerge forcefully in the foreground. David's face, partly in shadow under his headdress, expresses great concentration, though he seems to have suddenly noticed something on his left.

More severe tones are used for the clothes of the woman, who, absorbed by her work on a wool-winder, is sitting sideways on and wearing a violet dress, girt above the waist by a green sash, over a white shirt with gray-blue shadows. Her headgear is also grayish, while the only bright touches are provided by the yellow ocher cloth covering the seat, and the red boots visible in the shadow at the bottom.