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


Fresco, 215 x 430 cm
Cappella Sistina, Vatican

"Amminadab begat Nahshon. Nahshon begat Salmon." (Matthew 1:4)

The two lunettes at the ends of the side walls near the altar contain only two figures: a man, to whom the name inscribed on the tablet refers, and a woman. For the first time, in the Nahshon lunette, the two figures - seen alone and in profile - face in the same direction, without any concern for symmetry.

The same orientation was employed for the principal figures in the lost Abraham-Jacob-Isaac-Judas lunette. The woman is depicted standing, with one foot resting on the stone seat, looking at herself in an oval mirror that she is holding in her hand, her elbow resting on the knee of her raised leg. Her back and head are bent forward, following the curve of the top edge of the lunette. She is wearing a green overdress, tied over the shoulders, and a rose blouse with rose-orange shadows. The complex style of her blond hair, knotted on the top of her head, from where a long ponytail hangs, emphasizes her clean-cut profile and the delicate passages of light and shade on her neck, on which a gold earring stands out. The pose of the woman is probably derived from a relief representing the muse Melpomene on a Roman sarcophagus.

On the other side of the lunette, a youthful Nahshon, sits leaning back on the edge of the tablet, engrossed in reading the book open in front of him. His outstretched right leg rests on the wooden pedestal of the lectern holding the book, while the other one is bent, and his arms are folded. He is enveloped in an ample red mantle with gray-blue shadows and green lining and hood. The elegant nonchalance of the pose is well matched by the expression on his face - in shadow and framed by blond curls - which is that of a slightly sulky adolescent prince.