Madonna Doni (Holy Family), Michelangelo Buonarroti

Madonna Doni (Holy Family), Michelangelo Buonarroti
Madonna Doni (Holy Family), Michelangelo Buonarroti - 1

    • Posted by Michelangelo Buonarroti
    • Museum: Uffizi Gallery
    • Year: 1505-1506

Overview of the painting :

Madonna Doni (Holy Family) – Michelangelo Buonarroti. 1505-1506. Wood, oil, tempera. Diameter 120

This work is the only completed easel painting by Michelangelo (1475-1564) that has come to us, focusing on sculpture, architecture and frescoes. In his monumental paintings, the figures resemble sculpture, and it is no coincidence: when asked by the writer Benedetto Varka that painting or sculpture is higher, Michelangelo replied: “Painting, it seems to me, is considered better when it is more inclined to the relief.”.

So in the “Madonna Doni” or “Tondo Doni” (tondo – a round-shaped picture or relief) the figures of Madonna, Christ, St. Joseph, St. John the Baptist and the young men in the background are written in relief, sculptural. However, this feature distinguished the entire picturesque Tuscany school from, for example, the Venetian school. The central group resembles a sculptural composition: it is compact, and it seems that it can be circumvented from all sides and considered. In this work, the thinking of the architect is felt, so everything depicted is steadily and reliably “strengthened” in space.

The painting resembles a monumental one, similar to those frescoes that Michelangelo performed on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in 1508-1512. The characters’ figures and the drapery folds of the “Madonna Doni” are lapidar, that is, designed for a long-range review. The pose of Our Lady is as difficult as the Sistine characters, as if intended to echo the plastic of a certain architecture. And with its spatial composition, going into the depths, subtly looks like a painted ceiling plafon.

And yet this is a easel picture, as its color speaks of, folding from deep and pure colors, not so necessary in monumental painting, and a closed composition of the Tondo, and the living characters of the depicted. Thus, Michelangelo, who called himself, first of all, a sculptor, proved that he was fluent in the techniques of easel painting, and showed all his talents in this work, as befits the master of the High Renaissance.