Artibus et Historiae no. 79 (XL)

2019, ISSN 0391-9064

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LIVIO PESTILLI - Revisiting Michelangelo’s Doni Tondo (pp. 73–87)

Like many icons of Renaissance art, the Doni Tondo is a work that has attracted the attention of numerous scholars and engendered differing interpretations. Most of all, scholarship is divided on how to interpret the relationship between the Holy Family in the foreground and the nude figures in the background. This essay shores up the interpretation of those who suggest that these nudes were meant to be seen as catechumens awaiting baptism or, more precisely, pagans who could not benefit from that rite because they were born before the coming of Christ. By focusing on the space in which these ignudi stand, the article deepens our understanding of the painting’s baptismal implications and its probable link to the birth of Agnolo Doni and Maddalena Strozzi’s son, Giovanni Battista.

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