The Feeder Feed: Boston Edition

I am enjoying a day at the Boston Museum with some (traditional) students.

I wanted to share a Christological Goldfinch.


A “Mystical Marriage” scene.

Remind me to post the shot of Catherine beating the Devil with a hammer!

From there to Turner!

A gloriously horrible painting.




About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in On the road, The Feeder Feed, What Fr. Z is up to and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Theodore says:

    Fr Z

    Glad you are having a good time. Turner’s style may have been the result of cataracts for which there was no treatment in his day.

  2. APX says:

    Ok, so I took and passed with flying colors art history. Despite learning what everything else means in religious and secular art as well as church architecture, yet at no point were we told what the goldfinch symbolized in paintings. I feel ripped off. Can someone please tell me it’s symbolism?

  3. Jeannie_C says:

    ah.. but to understand Turner you need to know he was obsessed with light, not form…

  4. Giuseppe says:

    Later Turner foreshadowed Impressionism. I love the golden lights in his work. Look at that technical perfection in the fish close-up.

  5. BaedaBenedictus says:

    The Museum of Fine Arts is very fine. Did you see much of the outstanding American collection, Father? Love the John Singleton Copley portraits (bomb-scarred Copley Square contains a statue of him), and especially the marvellous John Singer Sargent pieces.

  6. mike cliffson says:

    the enemdia in feeding frenzy.
    Must be a Catholic leg.

  7. Lucas Whittaker says:

    The mystical marriage scene is wonderful.

  8. Muv says:

    Fr Z,

    You have made my day! I love goldfinches, they are my favourite bird. They nest in our neighbour’s bay tree every year and a couple of weeks ago were all over our garden collecting down from wild clematis and Japanese anemone seeds. I’ve noticed them in paintings, but never really thought about the symbolism. As well as your post from 2009, I’ve enjoyed this wikipedia entry

    Last October I did a 54 day Rosary Novena and combined it with long walks through the fields near our house. In one particular field there would be flocks of goldfinches which would rise up out of the long grass and fly back and forth to the hedge – now I can look back and savour the symbolism.

    As for Turner, is that a pig carcass overboard? I didn’t realise there were piranhas in the Thames.

  9. MacBride says:

    This is a nice article on the Goldfinch and its representation in art:

  10. yatzer says:

    The colors are quite lovely, but it still looks to me that it is a painting of someone who lost a boogie board and then was attacked by carniverous fish.

  11. Andkaras says:

    For those who like to employ christian symbols in their homes and yards,attracting gold finches is a bit of an art . for the best success you should obtain an “upside down goldfinch feeder “. they make the bird hang upside down to get the seed . This discourages almost all of the less desirable birds from eating the goldfinches favorite food,called niger(sounds like nye-jer )seed,which has become alas very expensive.the mistake that most people make with feeding this way is that they forget to shake the feeder tube to loosten the seeds from the sides that become sticky from the night dew or rain .These birds have a beautiful call that sounds like this “Babeeeee,Babeeee” .I tell my children that they are reminding us that Jesus was also once a little baby.

  12. Sid Cundiff in NC says:

    I love Turner; I love Caspar David Friedrich even more, a preference few have. Both paint the sublime, the sublime being Otto’s “Holy” see from an aesthetic perspective.

  13. Ray says:

    Father Z, you seem more like a Manhattan guy than a Margarita person. I say you drink the shorter drink. Have fun and stay safe…

  14. Kathleen10 says:

    oh my goodness. funny comments, must be a Catholic leg, a boogie board. how funny!

    I love BMFA! haven’t been in so long, but this reminds me i must go.

    i do enjoy the sky very much, the water, the mist. i cannot fathom what is going on in the water either. it does look like a boogie boarder fell in amongst piranha, plus a few irish setters on the bottom right! what were they doing so far from the ship! that’s their problem, right there.

  15. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    I love Turner (though I might agree with Sid Cundiff in NC) and I much enjoyed visiting the Boston Museum upon a time, but could not place this at all – and then, today, I ran into a notice about it being loaned out for an international exhibition, which explained why Fr. Z calls it “A gloriously horrible painting”!

    It is “Slavers Throwing Overboard the Dead and Dying: Typhoon Coming On” (1840), and refers to the case in 1781 where the captain of the Zong threw 133 slaves overboard during an epidemic because the insurance would pay for slaves ‘lost’ during a storm, but not those who died of sickness! (The Wikipedia, as of 30 April 2013 at 21:52, has an interesting article about it entitled “The Slave Ship”: the “Thomas Clarkson” link there is also well worth following, as of 1 April 2013 at 10:33.) It might be worth noting that the Anti-Slavery Society Convention and so the first exhibition of the painting took place as the Amistad case made its way through the courts (see the Wikipedia article, “United States v. The Amistad” as of 28 April 2013 at 23:48).

    (I wonder if Turner had Acts 27:14 in one version or other in mind, and the relation of the “ventus Typhonicus” to the montrous Typhon of Greek mythology, as well? In any case, captain and crew of the Zong contrast horribly with both the centurion St. Paul had to deal with and the men on the ship who were loath to do as St. Jonah bid them!)

Comments are closed.