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Zampieri Domenico called Domenichino
(Bologna 1581 - Naples 1641)

Domenichino portrays a rather unusual Sibyl, in that the young virgins inspired by the god Apollo are generally without musical attributes, which are present in this painting. The artist was known for his musical competence, and music is referred to here by both the scroll with notes and the neck of the viola da gamba, an instrument used precisely to accompany singing, which – given her semi-open mouth – the woman seems to be doing. Even the vine depicted in the foreground near the sibyl, almost as if to cover the laurel, sacred to Apollo, is a reference to musical themes. Such a representation must have both pleased and flattered Scipione Borghese, who had elected to be a protector of music as well as of painting.

Object Details

Medium | oil on canvas, cm 123 x 89

Inventory | 55

Location | Room 19 – Helen and Paris Room

Period | '600

Classification | painting