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Orazio Gentileschi (Pisa 1563-London 1639)

A Sibyl c.1635-38

Oil on canvas | 59.9 x 68.7 x 2.2 cm (support, canvas/panel/str external) | RCIN 405560

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The twelve Sibyls were supposed to have foretold the coming of Christ and were adopted by the Church as pagan equivalents to Old Testament prophets. Gentileschi’s Sibyl wears a turban, holds a tablet inscribed with indecipherable hieroglyphs and looks upwards as if seeking divine inspiration. Gentileschi was in effect painter to Charles I’s Queen, Henrietta Maria.