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 …..

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