Arts Everyday Living: Celebrating the Holidays in Art-Madonna & Child, the Spirit of the Goldfinch

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Madonna of the Goldfinch, c. 1767/1770, oil on canvas, Samuel H. Kress Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Title: Madonna of the Goldfinch, 1767/1770

Artist: Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770)

When Venetian artist Giovanni Battista Tiepolo created the work above in the 18th century, the traditional Madonna and Child of earlier religious eras (including the Middle Ages, Italian Renaissance, and Baroque periods of art) had been replaced by a more natural representation. Especially noticeable is the absence of haloes, a sign of divinity, for both mother and child.

Yet, does the baby Jesus Christ, rosy-cheeked with red hair, already have a strength and directness about Him? Looking straight at the viewer, in contrast to His mother Mary’s downward glance.  A brightly colored goldfinch, a symbol of His future Passion (the events leading to his later death) held in His chubby hand.



In the public domain, courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

The National Gallery of Art does not endorse or approve use of the above image or any of the material on this website. Nor has the National Gallery of Art participated in any projects utilizing the said image.



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