Europe, United Kingdom, England
First floor: Victorian
Sibylla Delphica about 1886
Sir Edward Coley Burne-jones 1833
Oil on panel 1898
The Sybil of Delphi was the priestess
at one of the most important Ancient Greek temples,
Burne-Jones shows her in front of the sacred flame
and holding the Laurel leaves
her puzzle-like prophecies were written on.
The painting began as a church window design.
Though pagan, Sybils are depicted in Christian churches
as they foretold the coming of Christ.
the Sybill of Delphi had said
'The Prophet born of the Virgin
shall be crowned with thorns'.
Burne Jones may well have been inspired by the Sybils
in Michelangelo's famous ceiling painting The Creation
which he saw in the Sistine Chapel on a visit to Rome.