Doni Tondo – the frame

After recovering from a period of recent ill health, I’ve spent the afternoon learning about a frame I saw when visiting the Uffizi Gallery last December. Whilst it goes without saying that the panel painting of the Madonna is quite exquisite, from my point of view as an embroiderer who is constantly looking for ideas for patterns and designs, it is the frame that holds my attention. The painting is still in the original frame. What really captured my attention as I approached the painting was the five heads which protrude from the frame. In one senior moment, the thought crossed my mind that they were reaching out to say hello and bid me welcome. There are carvings of half-moons, stars and what I think are fruit or some sort of vegetation. Possibly, lions’ heads? Scholars suggest that some of these forms are taken from the Doni and Strozzi coats of arms. When in Florence I saw the Strozzi family coats of arms, containing amongst other things, three crescent moons. How connected everything is!

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