michelangelos the libyan sibyl 1511 12

Michelangelo’s the libyan sibyl (1511-12)The Libyan Sibyl, part of Michelangelo’s painting of the Sistine Chapel, demonstrates how the artist alters normal perspective and uses light and color to emphasize the figure’s thematic importance.  In this large-scale work – a depiction of Christianity’s pre-Christian heritage – the figure dubbed “Libica” symbolizes pre-Christian wisdom, and Michelangelo visually underscores by giving her scale, luminosity, and physical features that set her apart.Found at the rear left of the ceiling (as one looks into the chapel toward the altar), the picture shows a sibyl (a female pagan oracle or seer), clad in an orange robe and seated with her left side facing the viewer, poised on her toes.

  Her upper torso is turned away and her arms spread to pick up a large, heavy-looking book from a table behind her.  She wears a pensive, somewhat demure look on her face.  Beneath her outstretched left arm, two small cherubs speak to each other; one is mostly hidden but wears a surprised expression, while the other points back at the sibyl, as though sharing a shocking prophecy.  This figure is clearly feminine in spite of her rather improbably muscled arms and shoulders; art scholar Anthony Hughes claims it “shows that increased size need not always express gravity or bullying athletic force” (Hughes, 1997, p.

138).This work typifies the early Renaissance style on several fronts.  First, it attempts to be realistic and to look natural, avoiding the flatness that had characterized medieval painting.  In addition, it shows an awareness of perspective, with which painters of that period experimented frequently.

  Here, though, Michelangelo had to defy it somewhat because The Libyan Sibyl is painted on a curved portion of the vaulted ceiling (which would normally curve away from a viewer on the floor).  Says Hughes, “Michelangelo had to make his figures appear to project forward, defying the actual recession of the surfaces” (Hughes, 1997, p. 131).  Also, because the ceiling is naturally lit from below, he had to paint this figure in bright colors in order to make it visible to people at floor level.

In addition, it has clear thematic meaning and strives to be naturalistic in its depiction of human form.  As part of a larger work, it is part of a religious narrative, representing the lineage of Jesus through the pagan and Jewish traditions.  (The original Libyan Sibyl was an oracle in North Africa whose prophecies foretold Jesus’ advent.)  According to Hughes, the sibyls are part of the pagan traditions that existed before the birth of Jesus, and that these female seers “‘open out’ salvation to the whole of humankind rather than exclusively to the Jewish nation” (Hughes, 1997, p.

127).It also fits well into the context of Michelangelo’s works (especially those found in the Sistine Chapel).  He placed great emphasis on realism in his human sculptures and paintings, particularly on his depiction of physical movement.  However, this one picture stands out from the other male and female prophets in the Sistine because it has an undeniable femininity combined with implied physical strength and wisdom.

  Art scholar Charles Sala writes that the sibyl’s figure, like those of other women he depicted, “presents an anatomical complexity and a vivaciousness of body and gesture that stand in strong contrast” to the almost improbably strong-looking male figures and stern, unappealing females depicted elsewhere in the Sistine (Sala, 1996, p. 100).The Libyan Sibyl is typical of Renaissance painting for both its religious theme and its visual technique, which strives for three-dimensionality and realism.  As a naturalistic depiction of human form, it is a good example of both the early Renaissance style and Michelangelo’s own work, which implied physical strength but also grace, and it fits into a larger thematic context of religious history and mythology.

WORKS CITEDAnonymous (2006).  Sistine Chapel ceiling.  Retrieved 18 April 2006 from http://en.wikipedia.

org/wiki/Sistine_Chapel_ceiling.Hughes, A. (1997).  Michelangelo.

  London: Phaidon.Sala, C. (1996).  Michelangelo.

  Paris: Terrail.

"Looking for a Similar Assignment? Order now and Get a Discount!

Get Better Grades Effortlessly
Calculate your paper price
Pages (550 words)
Approximate price: -

Why Work with Us

Top Quality and Well-Researched Papers

We always make sure that writers follow all your instructions precisely. You can choose your academic level: high school, college/university or professional, and we will assign a writer who has a respective degree.

Professional and Experienced Academic Writers

We have a team of professional writers with experience in academic and business writing. Many are native speakers and able to perform any task for which you need help.

Free Unlimited Revisions

If you think we missed something, send your order for a free revision. You have 10 days to submit the order for review after you have received the final document. You can do this yourself after logging into your personal account or by contacting our support.

Prompt Delivery and 100% Money-Back-Guarantee

All papers are always delivered on time. In case we need more time to master your paper, we may contact you regarding the deadline extension. In case you cannot provide us with more time, a 100% refund is guaranteed.

Original & Confidential

We use several writing tools checks to ensure that all documents you receive are free from plagiarism. Our editors carefully review all quotations in the text. We also promise maximum confidentiality in all of our services.

24/7 Customer Support

Our support agents are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week and committed to providing you with the best customer experience. Get in touch whenever you need any assistance.

Try it now!

Calculate the price of your order

Total price:
$0.00

How it works?

Follow these simple steps to get your paper done

Place your order

Fill in the order form and provide all details of your assignment.

Proceed with the payment

Choose the payment system that suits you most.

Receive the final file

Once your paper is ready, we will email it to you.

Our Services

No need to work on your paper at night. Sleep tight, we will cover your back. We offer all kinds of writing services.

Essays

Essay Writing Service

No matter what kind of academic paper you need and how urgent you need it, you are welcome to choose your academic level and the type of your paper at an affordable price. We take care of all your paper needs and give a 24/7 customer care support system.

Admissions

Admission Essays & Business Writing Help

An admission essay is an essay or other written statement by a candidate, often a potential student enrolling in a college, university, or graduate school. You can be rest assurred that through our service we will write the best admission essay for you.

Reviews

Editing Support

Our academic writers and editors make the necessary changes to your paper so that it is polished. We also format your document by correctly quoting the sources and creating reference lists in the formats APA, Harvard, MLA, Chicago / Turabian.

Reviews

Revision Support

If you think your paper could be improved, you can request a review. In this case, your paper will be checked by the writer or assigned to an editor. You can use this option as many times as you see fit. This is free because we want you to be completely satisfied with the service offered.

Get better grades effortlesslyIt’s cheaper than you might think

Effortlessly get the essays and grades you need. You can now get any essay, on any subject and at ANY deadline with just 10 minutes of your time (or less). Your professor will love you for it!