Technique Tuesday: Tondo

What is it?

Happy Tuesday! We figured today we’d “circle” (ha!) back around to a Technique Tuesday post and talk about the tondo! A tondo (plural “tondi”) is a term for a circular work of art, and comes from the Italian word “rotondo,” or “round.” While in many ways just like any other shape of artwork, the tondo still gives artists a unique challenge when it comes to creating the best composition and use of space within a circle, but the results are wonderful!

Examples from art history:

Round paintings date back as far as Ancient Greece, when a “kylix,” a vase or shallow wine glass, was frequently decorated with artwork. In the Italian Renaissance, the circular painting (and sometimes sculpture!) came back into fashion, and could be seen on dishes, plaques, medallions, etc. in addition to being framed works of fine art for the wall! One of Michelangelo Buonarroti’s most unique pieces was a tondo entitled “Holy Family” which he was commissioned to paint as a wedding gift, and which hangs today in the Uffizi in a magnificent frame of the artist’s own design. Though small, round paintings known as miniatures had been popular in England for a very long time, it was not until the 19th century that the tondo began to appear again in a large, full-size fine art format. Below we can see two examples from Victorian-era Pre-Raphaelite artists Ford Madox Brown and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Let’s check out just a few examples of these circular works of art through the ages:

Top row: Sosias, “Achilles Tending Patroclus Wounded by an Arrow”; White-ground kylix found in a tomb at Delphi — Center row: Raphael, “Maddona della seggiola”; Michelangelo Buonarroti, “Holy Family” — Bottom row: Ford Madox Brown, “Last of England”; Dante Gabriel Rossetti, “Belcolore”

Examples at Principle Gallery:

Many artists today are experimenting with and celebrating circular works of art, and it so happens that we’ve had a few come into the gallery recently and some which will be included in upcoming shows! Let’s take a look!

Greg Gandy, “Old Car Pileup”

Greg Gandy, “Consumption”

Jeremy Mann, “SF 12”

Laura E. Pritchett, “Elsewhere”

To see the other amazing (though non-circular) artworks from Greg Gandy included in the show from September this year, check out Greg’s page on our website here! Join us Friday, November 17th as we open the fantastic solo exhibition for Jeremy Mann, including the amazing cityscape tondo shown above, and check out this lovely little Laura E. Pritchett work in the Small Works show, opening December 2nd! To be put on the list to receive a digital preview of each of these shows as soon as they are available, send us an email at!


Opening Night and Live Painting Demonstration with Casey Childs

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“Evening Harvest,” 32×42, oil on linen by Casey Childs – on view now

Casey Childs’ solo exhibition, Relics opened this past Friday, October 20th and the artist returned yesterday, October 21st to present a Live Painting Demonstration. Casey Childs is primarily a portrait painter, who captures facial features, gorgeous flowing hair, and the human figure exquisitely. He brought us a variety of pieces, which everyone was excited to see for the first time Friday evening. Casey and his wife, Amanda, were in attendance, they mingled with visitors, and discussed his creative process. Opening night was a great success and we’d like to thank everyone who attended!


On Saturday afternoon Casey returned to the gallery for a Live Painting Demonstration! Our friend Joni Douglass sat as the model for the artist.


Joni Douglass and Casey Childs

Casey directed Joni how to pose and once he had her perfectly positioned, he began painting. The artist painted in oil upon a 16×12 linen fabric to create his portrait of Joni. It was incredible watching his piece transform throughout the afternoon and we applaud Joni for sitting patiently for a little over 3 hours!


As the artist worked he answered questions from the audience, broke down his process, and described the materials he was using. As the demo progressed Casey had captured Joni’s facial features perfectly, then it was time to paint her sparkly jewelry and those polychromatic feathers! DSC_0451

Those feathers were the final touch and then the piece was finito! Casey successfully expressed Joni’s beautiful features and unique accessories in the finished portrait.


We’d like to thank Casey Childs, Joni Douglass, and everyone who attended yesterday’s demo! We couldn’t have done it without all of you!


“Demo Portrait of Joni,” 16×12, oil on linen by Casey Childs

Come experience Casey Childs’ solo exhibition, Relics for yourself! The exhibition will be on view until November 15th! Stop in and see us!

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“Winter Wings,” 24×18, oil on linen by Casey Childs – on view now