Madonna Doni (Holy Family) - Michelangelo Buonarroti. Diameter 120
This work is the only completed easel painting by Michelangelo (1475-1564) that has reached us, focusing on sculpture, architecture and frescoes. In his monumental paintings, the figures resemble sculpture, and this is no coincidence: to the question of the writer Benedetto Varka about which is painting or sculpture above, Michelangelo answered: "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 the Madonna, Christ, St. Joseph, St. John the Baptist and young men in the background are painted in relief, sculpturally. However, this feature distinguished the whole picturesque school of Tuscany from, for example, the Venetian one. The central group resembles a sculptural composition: it is compact, and it seems that it can be circumvented from all sides and examined. The architect’s thinking is also felt in this work, so everything depicted is firmly and reliably “fixed” in space.
The painting's painting resembles a monumental one, similar to those frescoes that Michelangelo performed on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in 1508-1512. Character shapes and drapery folds Madonna Doni lapidary, that is, designed for long-range viewing. The pose of the Mother of God is as complex as that of the Sistine characters, as if intended to echo the plasticity of some architecture. And with its spatial composition extending into the depth, tondo looks like a painted ceiling shade.
Nevertheless, this is an easel painting, as evidenced by its color, consisting of deep and pure colors, not so necessary in monumental painting, and a closed composition of tondo, and living characters depicted. Thus, Michelangelo, who called himself, first of all, a sculptor, proved that he is fluent in easel painting techniques and showed all his talents in this work, as befits a master of the High Renaissance.