The Madonna sits next to a relaxed looking child within this composition. Behind them is an additional child (Infant Saint John), though only shown partially. The Madonna dominates this sculpture because of how she fills a large portion of it, but also in how she protrudes from the scene, whilst the rest is fairly flat. This piece was commissioned by Bartolomeo Pitti, who would then gift it to his son. At the time, Michelangelo was working on a number of other, more high profile projects, but managed to fit this commission in alongside. Many of his projects would be delayed from time to time, or not need his involvement for a while, as assistants took on some of the more menial tasks, and so it was quite normal for him to cover different tasks at the same time.
The piece is 85cm x 82cm and a tondo is the term used to describe a sculpture which is placed upon a circular disc. It was found most frequently within the Renaissance and a number of Michelangelo's colleagues and contemporaries would also produce their own versions. This art movement in general featured a number of artistic styles that you would rarely find today, including the use of egg tempera, which would predominantly be replaced by oils in the centuries that followed. Many installed paintings would also be designed to work around the architecture of the particular building, where as today most artists will work entirely from standard rectangular canvases which can be transported far more easily. The stunning piece captures an incredible amount of detail considering that it was only a small sized sculpture, and you can understand more of that by viewing the larger image of the Pitti Tondo that is included below.
This significant piece can now be found in the collection of the Museo Nazionale del Bargello in Florence, Italy. Many believe this city to have been the most important region in the Italian Renaissance, with other notable artists also coming from Rome, Venice and other parts of this nation. The Bargello itself focuses predominantly on sculpture but also offers some impressive architecture as well, making it a must-visit for any Renaissance fans who find themselves in the city of Florence. Bacchus by Michelangelo can also be found here, as well as Crucifix and Lorenzo Ghiberti's Isaac's Sacrifice. There is also and a bust attributed to Donatello, plus his more famous St George and David. This respected establishment would probably be even more famous were it not for the other prominent art galleries and museums within this city. It retains its relevance to art history, even though the Renaissance era came and went just so many centuries ago.