The Samian Sibyl with a Putto

The sibyl was an oracle of Apollo from the Greek island of Samos who prophesied that Jesus would be born of a virgin, as the inscription on the scroll indicates: ‘Hail Zion, chaste maiden who has much suffered’.

The painting was made for Gioseffo Locatelli of Cesena in 1651 as a companion to the 'King David' (private collection). These pendants were later in the Spencer collection and the frame was designed by James ‘Athenian’ Stuart for Spencer House in London. The ‘Samian Sibyl’ is related to the Cumaean Sibyl, also in the Gallery’s collection.  

Key facts

Artist dates
1591 - 1666
Full title
The Samian Sibyl with a Putto
Date made
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
218.5 x 180 cm
Acquisition credit
Accepted by HM Government in lieu of Inheritance Tax and allocated to the National Gallery, 2012
Inventory number
Location in Gallery