The spandrel above the lunette depicting Josiah, Jechoniah and Shealtiel was painted in just two days. Michelangelo transferred the drawing of the cartoon – as indeed in all the spandrels – onto the plaster by means of the “spolvero” technique.
This group probably depicts the family of Jechoniah, portrayed with his wife and son Shealtiel. The three figures are lying on bare ground; Jechoniah, barefoot in the foreground, sleeps in a half-reclining position, facing inwards. He wears a yellow shirt with white trousers, close-fitting at the ankles, creating a stark chromatic contrast to the shade of the background. Further back, on a green pallet, his wife sits with her head covered with a white shawl that falls onto her violet tunic. She tenderly holds her son in her arms, her face next to that of the child in maternal tenderness. The attitudes of the figures, along with the nocturnal atmosphere, recalls St. Paul’s definition of Christ’s ancestors as “pilgrims” and “strangers in the land”, on their way to the promised land.