The Feeder Feed (Old Master Edition)

TwitterSince I have been on the road I haven’t been able to post many updates on the feeder… ANY updates. So here is an old master edition from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. You might remember from my postings from elsewhere that the European Goldfinch is associated with the Crucifixion, because of its red streak, which in legend it got from pulling a thorn from Christ’s head.

More later when I dig some images out of my other camera.


Here is a slightly clearer version:

Allegretto Nuzi

It looks like the Lord has a pretty good grip on the old finchy toy.

This is a detail from a panel in an altarpiece by Allegretto Nuzi (+1373).

Allegretto Nuzi

You can see that Sienese thing going on with the eyes, almond-shaped.

allegretto nuzi

Here we have some birds in a still life by Flemish painter Frans Snyders (+1657), mainly crested woodpeckers. 

These are from a a still life of a bust of Ceres, goddess of fertility, etc, along with herms of Terminus, the god of boundaries… inter alia

And, of course, the enemy to all feeders.

Birds having a disagreement.

There is a monkey in the bottom right corner, with an earring.  I believe the monkey is from San Francisco.  The less said about that sort of thing, the better…

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. An American Mother says:

    Saw this in person while visiting my mother-in-law:

    The artist is obviously not conversant with the details of vestment protocol . . . but with a name like “Patience Brewster” she’s probably a New England Congregationalist . . . still cute though.

    I wonder — is the European Goldfinch as cheeky as our American variety? We were out Wednesday with the dogs, and as we walked across the fields a flock of Goldfinches flew with us, bold as brass. They flew in those wonderful swooping arcs in front of the dogs, hopping fearlessly on the ground and darting just out of range of five VERY interested retrievers. They were obviously having a wonderful time, and it was great steadiness training for the girls, so it was a happy day for all.

  2. Incaelo says:

    European goldfinches are among my favourite birds, but sadly I don’t see them a lot. They don’t seem too keen on urban areas and I suspect they’re a bit picky about their food. But they can definitely be cheeky. I’ve seen them hold their own in a flock of sparrows, and when, a few years ago, I saw a couple of them at Buckfast Abbey in the UK, they seemed very curious about me, especially when I started whistling back at them. Their little red heads peering down at me from a tree were very funny to watch.

  3. An American Mother says:

    Buckfast Abbey!

    Bee Keeper’s Pilgrimage!

    Are you a beekeeper? Of course I have Brother Adam’s book.

  4. Incaelo says:

    Ha! No, I’m not a bee keeper. Not even remotely. I was dragged along by a friend who is an oblate there.

    A spent about five days there, and as far as first encounters with religious communities go (I wasn’t even baptised yet when I visited), Buckfast is a great place to start.

  5. An American Mother says:

    Wow – I knew about Buckfast Abbey long before I was a Catholic.

    Their head beekeeper for many years, Brother Adam, is famous for developing the Buckfast strain of honeybee. It preserves a lot of the genetic material of the old British black bee, which was very ill tempered but produced a LOT of honey. The purebred black bees were wiped out by acarine disease in the 20s or 30s (we still have our American or “country” black bees over here, and they are JUST as ill tempered as the British ones if not worse. We used to have one hive of them and they were more trouble than all the others put together.)

    You can read something about it here:

    His book is available here:

    It’s a good book, a lot of history and anecdote in it. British beekeepers use a completely different type of hive and frames from American beekeepers, so it’s always interesting to read about how other folks do things.

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