Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Gold, Silver and Mosaics, Room 72, The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Galleries

Picture

1775-1800 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This micromosaic copies one of a group of five sibyls which Michelangelo painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (1508-12). Because they were known for their prophetic gifts, the pagan sibyls were depicted by Michelangelo alongside the Christian prophets.

Sir Arthur Gilbert and his wife Rosalinde formed one of the world's great decorative art collections, including silver, mosaics, enamelled portrait miniatures and gold boxes. Arthur Gilbert donated his extraordinary collection to Britain in 1996.


object details
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Picture
  • Frame
Materials and Techniques
Glass micromosaic, marble and slate with gilded wood frame
Brief Description
Micromosaic picture depicting the Erythraean Sibyl after Michelangelo, micromosaic and marble with gilt wood frame, Vatican Mosaic Workshop, Italy, 1775-1800.
Physical Description
Rectangular micromosaic depicting Michelangelo's Erythrean Sibyl. She sits in right profile on an architectural platform wearing colourful ancient garments. She points to a large book with her left hand while her right hand hangs at her side. Behind her are two putti, one lighting an oil lamp. The mosaic is set into a plaque and a gilt frame.
Dimensions
  • Mosaic only height: 25.9cm
  • Mosaic only width: 20.3cm
  • Including frame height: 40.0cm
  • Including frame width: 34.6cm
  • Including frame weight: 4.5kg
Gallery Label
'The Erythraean Sibyl' 1775-1800 This micromosaic copies one of a group of five sibyls which Michelangelo painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (1508-12). Owing to their prophetic gifts, these pagan figures were depicted alongside the Christian prophets. Italy; probably Vatican Mosaic Workshop, Rome Glass micromosaic, marble and slate with gilded wood frame Museum no. Loan:Gilbert. 185:1,2-2008(2009)
Credit line
The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Object history
Provenance: Mayfair Gallery Ltd., London, 1996.



Historical significance: The attribution to the Vatican workshop is based on the fact that its predominant source of subject matter was the religious art in the Vatican.
Historical context
The Sibyls, gifted with the power of prophesy, addressed the Gentiles and thus symbolized the New Testament; whereas the Prophets, who addressed the Jewish peoples, represent the Old Testament. Each Sibyl was named after the nation of her mission; thus the Erythraen Sibyl was named after Ionia. Her role was to teach enlightenment to the Church. She prophesied the details of the Passion and Resurrection of Christ and the Last Judgment, which was the subject of the altarpiece in the Sistine Chapel.
Subjects depicted
Literary References
  • New Testament
  • Bible
Summary
This micromosaic copies one of a group of five sibyls which Michelangelo painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (1508-12). Because they were known for their prophetic gifts, the pagan sibyls were depicted by Michelangelo alongside the Christian prophets.



Sir Arthur Gilbert and his wife Rosalinde formed one of the world's great decorative art collections, including silver, mosaics, enamelled portrait miniatures and gold boxes. Arthur Gilbert donated his extraordinary collection to Britain in 1996.
Other Numbers
  • MM 309 - Arthur Gilbert Number
  • MM 2 - Arthur Gilbert Number
Collection
Accession Number
LOAN:GILBERT.185:1, 2-2008

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record createdJune 26, 2008
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