(active 1370-1399 in Pisa)

Virgin and Child Playing with a Goldfinch and Holding a Sheaf of Millet

Tempera on panel, gold ground, 105 x 58 cm
Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen

In this picture the details have symbolic significance. The infant Jesus holds a goldfinch, which symbolises the Passion - the bird lives on thistles, and so refers to the crown of thorns. The bird has a ribbon tied around its foot. Its fettering symbolises the soul caged in the body. Only with the Resurrection is the soul set free. Thus, the bird also becomes a symbol of resurrection. The sheaf of millet in the child's right hand symbolises the bread of communion, and the coral around his neck protects the child against evil.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.