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Michelangelo Buonarroti: The Holy Family

Michelangelo Buonarroti 1475 – 1564

The Holy Family

tempera on panel (∅ 120 cm) — c. 1506 Museum Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

Michelangelo Buonarroti biography

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This painting is known as the Doni Tondo. Agnolo Doni was a rich cloth merchant in Florence, and a tondo is a round painting. He probably commissioned this painting at the occasion of the birth of his first daughter. It is the only panel that with certainty can be attributed to Michelangelo.

The tondo has a magnificent wooden frame, probably carved by members of the Tasso family. The five heads depict Jesus, two prophets and two sybils. The frame also shows the coats of arms of the Doni and Strozzi families. Agnolo was married to Maddalena Strozzi.

The painting itself shows a powerful Mary taking over her child from Joseph. In the background on the right John the Baptist is visible, perhaps standing in a pool used for baptism. That would symbolize the transition from pagan times (the naked youths) to christianity.

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