UNKNOWN MASTER, Italian
(active around 1450 in Tuscany)
Madonna and Child with a Goldfincharound 1450
Tempera on panel, 77 x 51 cm
According to legend, the goldfinch acquired the red spot on its brow when it removed a thorn from Christ's head during his ascent to Calvary, and was splashed with a drop of blood. Its inclusion in images of the Madonna and Child is, therefore, a symbol of Christ's future Passion.
This well-preserved panel was formerly attributed to Antonio Vivarini, then to Girolamo di Giovanni da Camerino. However, it appears to be by an anonymous Tuscan artist close to Domenico Veneziano and Giovanni di Francesco.