Doni Tondo by Michelangelo
This Holy Family dates back to the time when Michelangelo returned to Florence after his first stay in Rome, the same period when the great artist sculpted the famous David.
The work (c. 1506-1508) is the only painting by Michelangelo in Florence and is considered one of the masterpieces of the XVI century Italian art.
During the Renaissance, the “tondo” was a typical work for private clients. It was commissioned by the wealthy banker Agnolo Doni, probably at the time of his marriage to Maddalena, member of the very important Strozzi family.
The figures of Mary, Joseph and the Child, are grouped in a single volume in which the rotation of the Madonna gives the composition a spiral movement that will later be used by many artists. In the background a group of young nudes brings to mind a classic theme, symbolizing the pagan humanity still ignorant of Christian doctrine. It is also interesting to notice the beautiful carved wooden frame, designed by Michelangelo himself.
From the artistic point of view, the Tondo Doni laid the foundations of the so-called Mannerism, the style of painting that preferred bizarre, unnatural poses and iridescent colors to the composed painting of the XV century.
The Tondo Doni is therefore a very important work of art because it is one of the few examples of Michelangelo’s painting, together with the magnificent frescoes in the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel.
You can see the Doni Tondo by Michelangelo in the hall #35 of Michelangelo.