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Introduction Tondo Doni

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Chapter Summary

According to Vasari, Michelangelo was commissioned by his friend Agnolo Doni, a citizen of Florence, to paint a tondo. Still in the Doni palazzo in 1549, the tondo of Our Lady shows the Virgin in the foreground, seated on the ground in the attitude of a Madonna of Humility and leaning back towards Saint Joseph, a looming, virile figure of a man who crouches behind her, his knees widespread. Andrée Hayum initiated a new contextualization of the painting within contemporary Florentine society, recalling that tondi like Luca Signorelli's Madonna of Humility in the Uffizi were originally painted to decorate Florentine palazzi. In Hayum's view the elevation of the Christ Child emphasized 'the socially orthodox patrilineal path' of tracing descent, but details of that cultural negotiation were left unclear.

Keywords: Christ Child; Madonna of Humility; Michelangelo; Saint Joseph; Tondo Doni

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