The artwork is just under four metres in both width and height and was completed during the period of 1508–1512, alongside a large number of other items within the overall project. Michelangelo's work within the Sistine Chapel, Vatican Palace, Vatican City would span a long period of time but left behind perhaps his greatest single achievement, certainly within the medium of painting. His sculpture of David has also received a similar level of iconic fame, and those two projects spearhead his oeuvre. He would call on the services of assistants in order to be able to achieve this huge body of work, but many of these smaller items would be completed in just a matter of a few days directly by the artist himself. The Prophet Daniel is most well known for his appearance within the den of the lions but in this composition Michelangelo chooses to avoid that theme and keep everything fairly simple.
Daniel here is seen reading a large book, and a muscular figure beneath helps to hold it in place for him. The content appears to concentrate, therefore, on the intelligence and education of the prophet, rather than capturing a particular moment from his life. One of the more memorable elements to this painting would be the bright tones of colour which have been restored several times in order to keep their vibrancy alive. Great care is taken to preserve the overall display of paintings which are a key element to the Chapel's appeal, as well as being highly significant historical items which are famous all across the world. It is the tones of red, green and blue which help Daniel's clothing to stand out which attract the eyes, whilst there are also sculptured elements painted into the scene, which was another of this artist's impressive talents.
Research suggests that the publication featured in this painting is actually the Book of Life. He has chosen to write down all of his experiences within this book, though appears partially distracted by the task at hand, as he leans off to the right hand side. Many experts have also pointed to the perspective within this piece, with suggestions that it was foreshortened, as some term it. In all, there is plenty of technical ability on show here, with the use of drapery, bright tones, painted sculpture elements which resemble stone, and also the muscular physique of the small figure who helps Daniel out by holding up the book. The style used continues throughout this series of prophets and sibyls and the famous history of these figures have helped these artworks to become well known elements within the overall project.