About Famous Artists

Art Discussion, Art History, Famous Artists

Michelangelo’s Sibyls of the Sistine Chapel

A Sibyl was an oracle or prophetess in ancient Greece who was known to prophesy at holy sites under the influence of a deity.  The first collection of Sibyl utterances were recorded by Roman author Lactantius in the early 4th century AD.  Sibyls were represented in art as early as the Middle Ages as well as early Renaissance pieces.  Varro numbered ten Sibyls though other ancient sources differ as to the number, some only list one while others as many as twelve. On the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo alternated five Sibyls and seven prophets.  The five Sibyls painted by Michelangelo were said to have foretold of the birth …..

Read More

Michelangelo’s Easel Paintings

It seems a bit surprising but there are only four known easel paintings that are generally believed to have been created by Michelangelo.  The first is Michelangelo’s first known painting The Torment of St Anthony held by the Kimbell Art Museum in Ft. Worth, TX, USA. The others are the Doni Tondo at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy and two unfinished paintings, The Manchester Madonna and The Entombment both held in The National Gallery in London, England. The four easel paintings seem to be the first four paintings that are believed to be the work of Michelangelo.  It wasn’t long after Michelangelo created his easel paintings that he was …..

Read More

Michelangelo’s First Biographies

Michelangelo was the first artist to have a biography written about him while he was still alive, in fact there were two biographies written and published during his lifetime.  His biographers were Giorgio Vasari and Ascanio Condivi, both men knew Michelangelo as a friend. Giorgio Vasari was a painter, architect, writer and historian who is most famous today for his book Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, first published in 1550.  His book contains an encyclopedia of artists’ biographies including one for Michelangelo.  Vasari was a friend and admirer of Michelangelo whose influence can be seen in both his painting and his architecture. Vasari’s book offered a …..

Read More