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

Amminadab

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

" Abraham begat Isaac. Isaac begat7 Jacob. Jacob begat Judah and his brothers. Judah begat Phares and Serah by Thamar. Phares begat Esron. Esron begat Aram. Aram begat Amminadab. Amminadab begat Nahshon." (Matthew 1:2-4)

There are only two figures, both of young people, in the lunette of Amminadab, the prince of the Levites, opposite the one of Nahshon. The man on the left is depicted frontally, sitting bolt upright with his feet together, his forearms resting on his legs, and his hands tightly intertwined, a gesture that seems to betray great interior tension, as does the expression on his face, with its strongly pronounced lineaments under wiry hair held down with a white scarf. He is wearing a pale green cloak with reddish-orange shadows and tight gray-blue hose. From his ears hang two metal earrings of different shapes.

Like that of Amminadab, and many other figures in the lunettes painted at the end of the second phase of the frescoing of the vault, the position of the woman is uncommon, and was probably drawn from life. She is depicted seated, but turning around, her limbs twisted, and busy drawing an ivory comb through the long blond hair hanging down from her inclined head. The interplay of light and shade lends remarkable vivacity and immediacy to the figure. It is rendered with notable variations in tone on her face, her arm raised in front of her, her hand with the comb, and the foreshortened one holding up her hair, and also over the whole surface of the long rose red tunic and the white cloth spread over her knees.