2023 Author: Leah Sherlock | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-25 09:26
The painting on wood "The Holy Family" by Michelangelo, already a well-known and recognized sculptor, was painted in 1504. This is his first painting, a test of strength as an artist, became the greatest creation of a genius. Modestly calling himself a "sculptor from Florence", he was in fact an artist, poet, philosopher, and thinker. And each of his works is a synthesis of all his talents, an ideal combination of form and inner content.
Michedangelo's many-sided talent
By the time of writing The Holy Family, Michelangelo Buonarroti had gone through a good school. The sculptures "Pieta" and "David" have already been created, which brought him world fame. After returning to Florence, he worked on the orders he received from the clergy and nobility. His sculptural work was highly valued.
But Michelangelo wants to put into practice the knowledge he received in his youth in the brothers' painting workshopGhirlandaio. He undertakes to write an easel work in the form of a tondo, which is called the Doni Madonna or the Holy Family. It is believed that this is the only finished, preserved to this day, his easel work. It is kept in Florence, in the Uffizi Gallery.
Later, priceless Renaissance sculptures that influenced the entire world culture will be created, frescoes were painted in the Sistine Chapel in Florence, the dome of the Vatican Cathedral in Rome was painted, and the architectural complex of the Capitol was created. His sonnets are known, some of which were set to music during the author's lifetime.
This is another name for Michelangelo's Holy Family. The description of the composition should begin with the central group, which includes the Virgin Mary, Joseph the Betrothed and Jesus Christ. The author depicts a simple family scene: a woman passes or receives a child from the father's hands. Of course, this is a religious theme, but it is perceived as some kind of worldly, intimate fragment. The mother, turning her head, looks at her son with love and tenderness. The father, holding the baby tightly, closely monitors his movements. Experts call this arrangement of figures "helical". Even a photo of Michelangelo's "Holy Family" makes a strong impression on viewers.
The central group is written so carefully and subtly that it gives the impression of its volume. It seems that this is not a picturesque, but a sculptural group that can be walked around and viewed from all sides. bare handsVirgin Mary is embossed and beautiful, the color scheme emphasizes the naturalness and purity of the skin.
In the background, not far from the holy family, Michelangelo depicted five male nudes. Being a great sculptor, and knowing anatomy to perfection, the author managed to convey the beauty, plasticity and relief of the forms of human bodies, reminiscent of ancient statues. Despite the complexity and variety of their poses, they are natural and suggest movement.
Why did the author choose such a controversial background for the holy family? Michelangelo was first and foremost a sculptor working with nudes. The technique with which he performed the nude figures on the canvas amazes viewers of all times. Perhaps that is why the work was favorably received by everyone, even the clergy.
However, the two main groups are separated from each other by a contrasting horizontal line. And the whole composition of the picture is united by John the Baptist watching Jesus Christ with a half-smile on his face.
What is a tondo?
Tondo is a painting or sculptural work (bas-relief) of a round shape, having a size of about a meter. This form of artwork was common in Florence during the early Renaissance. All the great artists of that time performed works in the form of tondo, depicting, as a rule, religious subjects on them.
Following fashion, rich Florentines decorated their homes with such works. It was customary to make such expensive gifts for significant dates.
Why is Michelangelo's Holy Family called Tondo Doni?
We althy cloth merchant, collector and philanthropist Agnolo Doni in 1504 was legally married to the daughter of a Florentine banker, Maddalena Strozzi. Presumably, in honor of this event, the merchant ordered the creation of a religious-themed tondo from the famous master Michelangelo Buonarroti.
An interesting fact related to the confrontation between two strong personalities is described by their contemporary Giorgio Vasari in his "Biographies". Estimating his work at 70 ducats, the artist received only 40 from the prudent customer. He decided that this was enough, and the author would not raise a fuss. Michelangelo was furious and demanded either the return of the painting or the payment of 140 ducats. The miser, sensibly evaluating the work and understanding its true value, was forced to pay twice.
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