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The Samian Sibyl, c. 1480-90


Bequest of Herschel V. Jonesexpand_more  P.68.94

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During the Renaissance humanist scholars in Florence were preoccupied with the rediscovery of ancient writings, and artists of the period often drew their subjects from these texts. This print is based on Varro's first-century BCE account of the sibyls. The ancient world had ten sibyls, or prophets, who presided over the Apollonian oracle at the Greek colony of Samos. Because the Catholic Church needed to reconcile the pagan past with Christian beliefs, the Sibyls came to be interpreted as Old Testament prophets who foretold the coming of Christ.

The Samian Sibyl
Artist Life
Italian (Florence), 1445-before 1513
Accession Number
Ambroise Firmin-Didot, L.119; Louis Galichon, L. 1060; Colnaghi; Knoedler & Co., 1926
Catalogue Raisonne
Hind C.II.6B i/iii; H.I.179.68
Curator Approved

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