Collections OnlineSistine ChapelNorth wallLunettes

Jesse, David, Salomon
Asa, Josaphat, Joram
Ezechias, Manasses, Amon
Josias, Jechonias, Salathiel
Azor, Sadoch

In the lunettes and webs above, Michelangelo painted the Forefathers of Christ, the forerunners of his coming and therefore of the Redemption. They are listed at the beginning of the Gospel of St Matthew (Matthew 1:1-17), which, starting from Abraham, gives the names of forty forefathers of Christ (differing from the other version of the evangelist Luke, which, beginning from Adam, gives 75 families), shown here not so much as historical images but as symbolic figurations of mankind caught in various attitudes and above all in its formation into family units. Numerous attempts to link the names written on the labels to the personages depicted have not yet permitted them to be identified with any certainty.