The Cumaean Sibyl
Inscribed Deus/nostra vestitus/carne decenter (God/fitly clothed in our flesh) on the scroll
Oil on canvas, within a painted oval
34 1/4 x 28 inches (87 x 71.1 cm)
Private collection, Ohio
The inscription on the scroll makes it clear that the prophetess shown here is the Cumaean Sibyl. The words are quoted from the Latin text of "Sibylla Cumana," one of Prophetiae Sibyllarum, a series of 12 choral pieces by the Franco-Flemish composer Orlande de Lassus (circa 1532-1594), which he is said to have presented as a gift to his patron, Albrecht V, Duke of Bavaria. The authorship of the Latin text is unknown, but it is clearly a 16th-century translation of Oracula Sibyllina, a supposedly rediscoverd ancient Greek text published by the humanist printer Johannes Oporinus in Basel in 1545. (Jonathan Harvey, "A Beginner's Guide to Prophesy: Orlande de Lassus's Prophetiae Sibyllarum," Choral Journal, June/July 2010, p. 12)
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