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The Doni Tondo or Doni Madonna, is the only finished panel painting Michelangelo. Mary is the most prominent figure in the composition, taking up much of the center of the image. She sits directly on the ground without a cushion between herself and the grass, to better communicate the theme of her relationship to the earth. Joseph is positioned higher in the image than Mary, although this is an unusual feature in compositions of the Holy Family. Mary is seated between his legs, as if he is protecting her, his great legs forming a kind of de facto throne. There is some debate as to whether Mary is receiving the Child from Joseph or vice versa, although it is clear that the former is the case as she has put down the book she was reading. Saint John the Baptist, the patron saint of Florence, is very commonly included in Florentine works depicting the Madonna and Child. He is in the middle-ground of the painting, between the Holy Family and the background. The scene appears to be a rural one, with the Holy Family enjoying themselves on the grass and separated from the curiously (seemingly) unrelated group at the back by a low wall.
The Doni Tondo is believed to be the only existing panel picture Michelangelo painted without the aid of assistants.