Michelangelo Paintings

Michelangelo's Libyan Sibyl study is a red chalk drawing (11-3/8 x 8-1/2 inches), which belongs to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Libyan Sibyl Study by Michelangelo

Michelangelo's detail of the Libyan Sibyl is one of the finest on the Sistine ceiling (1508-12). The sibyl is suspended in a dramatically twisted pose, or contrapposto, an effect that the artist repeated with equal brilliance in his 1530 sculpture, Victory.

The Libyan Sibyl, whom Michelangelo gave a regal pose and Hellenic features, was known for her prophecy of the coming of a king born of a virgin.

Libyan Sibyl Study is one of the finest surviving examples of Michelangelo's many drawings for the Sistine ceiling. It demonstrates the artist's careful attention to every detail of the figure. The red chalk drawing, done from a male model, shows a study of the face in the lower left-hand corner, in which the artist transformed the rough male features of his model into the Hellenic ideal of female beauty found in the final painting.

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