blue madonna
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Michelangelo Madonna Child

Pitti Tondo
Michelangelo 1503
Bargello, Florence

Michelangelo's Pitti Tondo | John Robinson

The Blue Madonna arrives

At last the extremely heavy wooden crate containing the Blue Madonna arrived in my studio in Somerset and I unscrewed the lid. The excitement of removing the packing and taking the first look at what was inside was heart stopping. With the help of my son Mark, we gingerly lifted the three foot wide and extremely heavy disc out of the box. As we freed the glass from the dark interior and allowed light to penetrate the Tondo it started to glow. We carried it across to the windows of the studio and stood it up. The full glory of the Blue Madonna sprang into life as the sunlight shone through it. I don’t think I have ever seen anything as beautiful in my whole life. The mystic aura surrounding the three heads took my breath away.

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Los Angeles

When I showed Damon de Laszlo photographs of the Blue Madonna he immediately thought of the new Cathedral in Los Angeles, which he had visited with his friends. He decided to send off a poster of the exact size to Cardinal Roger Mahony and offer it as a gift. On October 2nd 2002 the Cardinal wrote back saying that he and his Art Committee would be delighted to accept the Tondo as a gift. It is hard to believe that my Blue Madonna will be unveiled on the 500th anniversary of Michelangelo's carving of the Pitti Tondo.

Technical Information

The glass used in the Blue Madonna is sodium based. It floats well and has a casting temperature of around 850C. Lead based glass has a lower casting temperature of 820C but it is heavier than sodium glass. The Blue Madonna weighs less than 250 lbs whereas a lead glass casting would weigh over 400 lbs. The upper level of the cooling temperature of sodium glass is around 475C. The inner and outer temperature of the glass must be kept the same to avoid block tension, which causes cracks. The Blue Madonna took three weeks to cool.

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© John Robinson/Edition Limitee 2007
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