The Feeder Feed: Old Master Edition

I am in the National Gallery, gallery 3 enjoying Italian Gothic painting.

Here is a tryptich of Puccio Di Simone and Allegretto Nuzi. The subject is Our Lady Enthroned, the infant Lord enthroned on her.

The Lord had in His firm grip one of our by now well-known Christological Goldfinches.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. revs96 says:

    What’s around His neck?

  2. tjtenor2 says:

    Glad you’re enjoying the fine collection of Italian art in the National Gallery! That’s still one of my favorite places to go, even after living in the DC area for almost twenty years now.

  3. Sandy says:

    I’m sure we’ve been told before, but what is the symbolism of the goldfinch? This sacred art is wonderful. There’s an art museum in San Diego that has a whole wing dedicated to it.

  4. revs96 says:

    Goldfinches are a foreshadowing of the Crucifixion since, according to legend, a goldfinch pulled a thorn from Christ’s head (hence the red feathers on the head of the goldfinch in the painting above).

  5. Wendy says:


    A piece of red coral for protection (against evil, usually).

    What I like is that she is tickling His chin. Probably has some deep symbolic significance, but what I see is a fond mother tickling her son’s chin to the delight of both.

  6. Simply beautiful!

  7. Dawn Marie says:

    I also was taken by the image of our blessed Mother touching his chin. At first I also thought that it was a loving gesture, but on further examining the facial expressions I have a feeling that it is more of a loving admonishment of some kind. I have never seen this before, it’s very interesting.

  8. AnAmericanMother says:

    “Don’t squeeze that bird quite so tightly, darling.”

  9. revs96 says:

    Well, He is a toddler…

  10. wanda says:

    How sweet that our infant Lord holds the little goldfinch close to His heart. I love the story that later on the little bird helps our crucified Lord.

  11. Maltese says:

    Giotto is there as well as, in my humble opinion, Da Vinci’s greatest work, and his only work in America, Ginevra de’Benci; on the back, it reads, “She adorns her beauty with virtue.” Ahh, now THAT’S a tribute!

    The National Gallery is just unreal: it’s free and holds some of the greatest work known to man, and it’s uncrowded (unlike, say the Louvre or the Prado,) truly an unspoken treasure full of treasures!

    Similarly, the Detroit Art Museum is housed with unspoken treasures which some are too afraid to hazard to see. But, really, the National Gallery is unbelievably rich, and free; sad more don’t take advantage of it….

  12. irishgirl says:

    What a beautiful picture! I love the expressions of the faces of the Infant Jesus and Mary!

    Haha-I like your ‘maternal admonition’, AmericanMother!

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