Michelangelo's Taddei Tondo
has been at the heart of the Royal Academy Collections since it was bequeathed to the institution by Sir George Beaumont, John Constable's patron, in 1830. The only Michelangelo marble in Britain, the tondo offers a fascinating insight into the master's technical and experimental skills, given its tantalising lack of finish. Joshua Reynolds, the Academy's first President, considered that Michelangelo represented everything that an artist should aspire to, combining 'technical' brilliance with sublime 'poetical' imagination, and the tondo shows this in scintillating relief. Expertly researched and written by the renowned Renaissance art historian Alison Cole, this book explores the life of the tondo, from Michelangelo's rivalry with Leonardo to the marble's arrival at the Royal Academy and its subsequent impact on its teaching. In a fresh and exciting look at the tondo's role in revealing Michelangelo's technical experimentation, Cole explores the importance of the 'non finito'. Lavishly illustrated and including brand new photos of the tondo, this is an intriguing and enriching exploration of a lesser-known side of the great Renaissance master's work.