Europe 1300 - 1800
- Raphael, an introduction
- Raphael and his drawings
- Raphael, Marriage of the Virgin, 1504
- Raphael, Madonna of the Goldfinch
- Raphael, La belle jardinière
- Raphael, School of Athens
- Raphael, School of Athens
- Raphael, Alba Madonna
- Raphael, Portrait of Pope Julius II
- Raphael, Galatea
- Raphael, Pope Leo X
Raphael, Madonna of the Goldfinch, 1505-6, oil on panel, 42" x 30" (107 x 77 cm), Uffizi, Florence Speakers: Dr. Steven Zucker and Dr. Beth Harris. Created by Beth Harris and Steven Zucker.
Want to join the conversation?
- Why are Mary and John the Baptist clothed and Jesus nude?(20 votes)
- I think John the Baptist has on skins because the Bible depicts him wearing them. This would help the viewer identify who the baby was.(26 votes)
- Is the patch of sky behind Mary supposed to be a type of halo?(19 votes)
- For those who are not quite sure what you mean, the clouds seem to leave a blue patch of halo around Mary's head. Great find!(8 votes)
- How is the goldfinch symbolic of the Passion?(16 votes)
- According to Wikipedia: "Because of the thistle seeds it eats, in Christian symbolism the goldfinch is associated with Christ's Passion and his crown of thorns."(3 votes)
- Regarding the book Mary is reading: it appears to be in western script instead of Aramaic. Any thoughts about this?(4 votes)
- This is due to the fact that many Medieval artists were never very "period-correct" in their artwork, and many of their ancient depictions are very Westernized and have a curious resemblance to fashions of the Medieval time period. The same could be expanded to include architecture and literary considerations, including script.(6 votes)
- who is john the babtist?(2 votes)
- he was the son of mary's cousin Elizabeth. In a very similar way to how an angel came to Mary and foretold Jesus' birth ('the annunciation') an angel came to Zechariah, Elizabeth's husband and foretold John's birth. Mary and Elizabeth were pregnant at the same time, though John was born a little earlier. As an adult, John was sent as a prophet to the people of Israel to preach and call them to repent and be baptised, as a preparation for the ministry of Jesus. Jesus, at the very beginning of his public ministry is baptised by John, who proclaims him, i.e. Jesus, to be the lamb of God. Shortly after this John is enprisoned for speaking out against King Herod, and he was later beheaded.(4 votes)
- Does anyone know the name of the painting at1:13? Thank you!(2 votes)
- Glad you asked, its Giotto's Ognissanti Madonna. Learn about it here:
- How do people know about this art if it was made over 500 years ago?(2 votes)
- People know about things from long ago because people of ancient times did actually have records (some of them anyways) And, when there are other relicts from the same time period, researchers/scientists can make educated guesses as to what things looked like or how they were made.
For example: We don't really know what dinosaurs look like but scientists/researchers have educated guesses.
I hope this helps!(3 votes)
- Why does Christ seem to have a belt?(3 votes)
- During biblical times, sash-like cloths were worn to symbolize different things. That's why.(1 vote)
- If you look closely, John the Baptist has a halo as well as Mary, but Christ doesn't seem to have one. Is there any explanation?(2 votes)
- Which one is Christ?(1 vote)
MAN: We're in the Uffizi. And we're looking at a Raphael. And this is the "Madonna of the Goldfinch," which is a really funny title. WOMAN: It is a funny title. And John-- who we see here on the left-- is holding out a goldfinch, the bird, to the Christ child, who strokes its head. And the goldfinch is a symbol of the passion of Christ, of Christ's suffering. And so we have that idea that we often have, of the foretelling Christ's terrible future. MAN: At the same time, this is a painting of two children and a mother. And so it exists in several different planes, because they're children doing childlike things-- one showing a pet to another, one wanting to touch it, the mother looking down protectively. WOMAN: And even a kind of tenderness between the mother and son-- look at the way that Christ puts his foot on his mother's. So there's that skin-to-skin moment of human contact there that's really lovely. But to me, Christ doesn't look like a child having fun. He looks very much all-knowing. I suppose if you were looking at a painting from the 1300s, Christ would look-- instead of looking like a baby, he would look like a little man, in order to indicate his sense of wisdom. But here I think Raphael communicates that through the elegance of Christ's body. Look at the way he lifts his arm up, strokes the goldfinch, and tilts his head back. He stands in this incredibly elegant contrapposto that no child would ever stand in. I mean, it's such a pose. MAN: It's true. And it's a beautiful foreshortening of his head, of his face as he leans back. But then there's a kind of energy and child-likeness that we see in John. John seems so engaged-- look what I can show you. WOMAN: And yet it's this symbol, this really potent symbol, of Christ's suffering. MAN: What's so interesting is that, unlike the 1300s as you mentioned before, we don't have the Madonna on the throne. Here, nature itself is the throne. We have this verdant environment, this beautiful atmospheric perspective. And she sits on a rock. That is, divinity is all around us. By the time we get to the late 15th century through the early 16th century, in the High Renaissance, nature itself has taken on the expression of God. We don't need, in a sense, those kingly symbols. WOMAN: Look at how composed it is, it in a way that we don't even notice immediately. We have a pyramid composition, with Mary at the top, and Saint John and Christ on either side, and that sense of real stability and balance that's also so much a part of the High Renaissance. MAN: Even as the figures are so engaged with each other-- and there's real dialogue that's taking place with them-- there is also that sense, that High Renaissance sense, you're right, of balance, of perfection, of the eternal. WOMAN: That interlocking of gestures and glances-- Mary looking at down at John, John looking at Christ, Christ looking back at John-- all of them enclosed within the pyramid structure of Mary's body, that unified composition that brings everything together in this really lovely landscape. MAN: I'm intrigued by the book. Mary had been reading. She's kept her place. And of course, that reminds us of an earlier scene in the Annunciation, when Gabriel interrupts as she's been piously reading the Bible. But here she's been reading, and now she's interrupted by her charges. She's doing a little bit of babysitting.