Frescoes in the corner pendentives
by MICHELANGELO

At the corners of the vault, two spandrels join to form the larger triangular fields of the pendentives, with one of the two vertices pointing downward rather than up. Their surfaces create notable difficulties from a compositional point of view, especially where it was necessary to paint narratives.

In the pendentive to the left of Zechariah, the story of Judith is represented in a sort of irregular triptych, In the pendentive on the right, out of the darkness a blinding light illuminates the figures of the protagonists - David and Goliath - locked in mortal combat.

The representation, at the sides of the entrance wall, of Judith who has beheaded Holofernes, and of David vanquishing Goliath - a woman and a boy who delivered the Jews from the threat of terrible enemies, prefiguring the triumph of the Church - offers two examples of humility conquering pride, which may be related to the theme of "humiliation" foreshadowed in the nearby scene of the Drunkenness of Noah as the prefiguration of the Incarnation of Christ.

The scenes painted in the pendentives at the sides of Jonah depict the Punishment of Haman, at the left, and the Brazen Serpent, at the right, respectively. These scenes are characterized by the use of pronounced foreshortening. The fresco of Jonah, the scenes in the pendentives, the panel with the Separation of Light from Darkness, and the figures of the seers linked to them, are closely related from an iconographical point of view by some allusion to the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.

Preview Picture Data Info
Judith and Holofernes
1509
Fresco, 570 x 970 cm
Cappella Sistina, Vatican


Judith and Holofernes (detail)
1509
Fresco
Cappella Sistina, Vatican


Judith and Holofernes (detail)
1509
Fresco
Cappella Sistina, Vatican


Bronze nudes
1511
Fresco
Cappella Sistina, Vatican


David and Goliath
1509
Fresco, 570 x 970 cm
Cappella Sistina, Vatican


David and Goliath (detail)
1509
Fresco
Cappella Sistina, Vatican


David and Goliath (detail)
1509
Fresco
Cappella Sistina, Vatican


Bronze nudes
1511
Fresco
Cappella Sistina, Vatican


Punishment of Haman
1511
Fresco, 585 x 985 cm
Cappella Sistina, Vatican


Punishment of Haman (detail)
1511
Fresco
Cappella Sistina, Vatican


Punishment of Haman (detail)
1511
Fresco
Cappella Sistina, Vatican


Bronze nudes
1511
Fresco
Cappella Sistina, Vatican


The Brazen Serpent
1511
Fresco, 585 x 985 cm
Cappella Sistina, Vatican


The Brazen Serpent
1511
Fresco, 585 x 985 cm
Cappella Sistina, Vatican


The Brazen Serpent (detail)
1511
Fresco
Cappella Sistina, Vatican


The Brazen Serpent (detail)
1511
Fresco
Cappella Sistina, Vatican


Bronze nudes
1511
Fresco
Cappella Sistina, Vatican



Summary of works by Michelangelo
Sculptures | Paintings | Sistine Chapel | Drawings | Architecture
Sculptures
-1501 | 1502- | David | Julius II's Tomb | Medici Tomb | Pietŕs
Sistine Chapel
Last Judgment | Genesis | Prophets | Sibyls | Ignudi
Spandrels | Lunettes | Triangles | Medallions



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