Paolo Morando called Cavazzola - inv. 1599
Mary is holding a book open with her hand while Jesus turns towards her and their gazes meet. The Virgin is wearing a sumptuous, richly embroidered red dress above a beautiful white blouse; the traditional blue cape falls in ample folds from her head, her hair is highlighted in gold. Jesus is wearing classical style garments that leave his shoulders bare and is holding a goldfinch in one hand. In pagan culture, this bird represented the spirit of man flying away at the moment of his death and this meaning was adopted by the Christian tradition. In addition, the link between the goldfinch and the Child is bound up in legend: the red spot on the bird’s head apparently appeared when a thorn was extracted from Christ’s forehead as he was making his way up the Calvary and his blood fell onto the bird, staining it.
The composition is an original working of elements taken from the Venetian tradition (the face of the Virgin and the way her hand lies on the book) and from Raphael (the pose of the Child). It is a late work by the skilful Paolo Morando, who died in his early thirties.