I visited, too briefly, the Cleveland Museum of Art and found several fine examples of the now world-reknowned Christological Goldfinch.
But two were different.
Often you will see the finch grasped by the little Christ in his hand. The bird is usually being either pretty much squished or it is trying to get away. Sometimes he is pecking the divine hand in his struggle for freedom.
Here is one finch who succeeded!
This is from the mid 14th century from around Florence. Note the shape of the eyes.
Madonna and Child Enthroned. Pretty straight forward.
But wait! He’s making a break for it.
This one got away.
Don’t YOU be the one who get’s away from His grasp.
GO TO CONFESSION!
And, because she’s lovely, a Virgin and Child with a bunch of grapes and the apple. Sandstone, Burgundian early 15th century.
Look at the drapery.
Another goldfinch… another different goldfinch.
But first, a quick look at a more usual bird, pretty much under control. Again, c. 1450.
And then there is this one. Siena, 2nd half of 15th century, by Neroccio de’ Landi.
The finch has given them the slip, but he’s hanging around anyway.
You know the story of the Christological Goldfinch by now. As legend has it, a finch tried to pull thorns from Christ’s head during His Passion. He got some Blood on his head and has forever after had that red streak. The finch is thus a symbol of Christ’s suffering and death for you, O sinner.