CRANACH, Lucas the Elder
(b. 1472, Kronach, d. 1553, Weimar)

Portrait of Anna Cuspinian (detail)

c. 1502
Oil on wood
Oskar Reinhart Collection, Winterthur

The chastity of the Virgin remained an ethical precept for married women for many centuries. The motif of the parrot on the tree, given to Anna Cuspinian as an attribute, is consistent with this precept. The call of the bird was thought to be "Ave", the Angelic Salutation; since the Middle Ages it had therefore been considered as a Marian symbol, a sign of the innocence and purity associated with Mary.