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

Rachel and Leah

Marble, height 197 and 209 cm, respectively
San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome

The conception of the two female forms now flanking Moses differ from him to such an extent that one can scarcely believe they came from the same artist. Rachel and Leah illustrate Michelangelo's espousal of the Catholic reform movement as embodied by Vittoria Colonna and his relationship with Faith and expectation of personal redemption.

The two statues were created for the final version of the tomb of Julius II. Rachel is the symbol of contemplative life, and Leah that of the active life. According to another interpretation, Rachel is the representation of Faith and Leah of active Love.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.