Michelangelo - 1508 Sistine Chapel - 06 Sibyls Cumaean Sibyl
Type of Spiritual Experience
The Sibyls were prophetic women who were resident at shrines or temples throughout the Classical World. The five depicted in the Sistine chapel are each said to have prophesied the birth of Christ. The Cumaean Sibyl, for example, is quoted by Virgil in his Fourth Eclogue as declaring that "a new progeny of Heaven" would bring about a return of the "Golden Age".
There are five sibyls. Each sibyl represents an element – air, earth, water, fire, and aether. Because of the correspondences there is a colour associated with each sibyl and a ‘continent’ – Africa, Asia, Europe, America – and Antarctica [although it was not called Antarctica, but had various symbolic names].