Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Michelangelo Sculptures

Taddei Madonna by Michelangelo

Michelangelo's Taddei Madonna was so named because it was originally blocked out for Francesco Taddei in around 1504. However, Michelangelo never completed it. Even in its unfinished state, the Taddei Madonna shows a more dynamic composition than the Bruges Madonna. Plus, the Taddei Madonna illustrates the pro­gressive stages of Michelangelo's working procedure and his masterful use of different types of chisels.

Michelangelo's Taddei Madonna
Michelangelo's Taddei Madonna hangs in the Royal
Academy of Fine Arts in London and measures
46-1/4 inches tall.

In the Taddei Madonna, the rough foundation work and the hair of the Child and the Baptist were created using a cylindrical chisel that was also used as a drill to carve out the major elements of the piece. The figure of the Baptist is further completed by the use of a coarse, two-toothed chisel. Finally, the Virgin and body of the Christ Child are brought nearly to completion, except for the filing and polishing, through the use of a three-toothed chisel, a tool that, in the masterful hands of Michelangelo, could breathe life into the surface of cold stone.

The face of Mary, the most finished part of the Taddei Madonna, serves as the passionate heart of the composition, infusing the work with deep feeling and serene gravity.

At the same time that Michelangelo was working on the Taddei Madonna, he was also working on one of his greatest masterpieces. Learn about the David in the next section of this article.

To learn more about Michelangelo, art history, and other famous artists, see: