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

Ancestors of Christ: figures

1511
Fresco, 245 x 340 cm
Cappella Sistina, Vatican

The figures are in the triangular spandrel in the sixth bay between Ezekiel and the Persian Sibyl. The spandrel is situated over the Rehoboam-Abijah lunette.

Michelangelo painted a family group in this lunette. The woman, seen in profile, is seated in the foreground, in an absorbed attitude, her chin resting on her hand; with her other arm she embraces her child. Behind her, the gray-haired head of a male figure emerges from the shadows.

Above, on each side of the ram's skull, the bronze nudes no longer take the form of motionless, reclining figures, but are howling demons who struggle furiously in almost acrobatic positions in the restricted space enclosing them. Although their poses are perfectly symmetrical, their hair seems to be blown in the same direction, as if by a sudden gust of wind.

It is usually assumed that the male figure in the shadows represents Solomon, the father of Rehoboam.




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