13. Giuseppe Cesari, called il Cavalier d’Arpino

Arpino 1568 – 1640 Rome

Persian Sibyl, circa 1593 – 1595

Cavalier d’Arpino drew this female figure with all the en­ergy and rhythm he was capable of. He devised this as a study for the Persian Sibyl painted in one of the penden­tives in the vault of the Olgiati Chapel in the Church of Santa Prassede in Rome (circa 1593-95). Wrapped in her ample drapery, our figure is just as monumental as the one for which she is the preparatory sketch, although reversed. The reversal of the figures from sketch to fresco, also car­ried out for the prophet Moses and the Eritrean Sibyl, was probably linked to the modification of their placing in the painted cycle, forerunner of the great Baroque decorative schemes of the seventeenth century.