Galleria degli Uffizi
Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6, 50122 Firenze FI, Italia
Madonna del Cardellino, or Madonna of the Goldfinch, it is one of the earliest paintings by the young Raphael. It was painted in 1506, on the occasion of the marriage of Lorenzo Nasi, a wool merchant, to a Florentine noblewoman, Sandra Canigiari.
The subject is the Virgin Mary who, seated on a rock with a book in her hand, turns a tender and loving gaze at the children in front, her son Jesus and a young John the Baptist, who holds a goldfinch, a symbol of passion.
The influence of Leonardo Da Vinci can be seen in this painting, given by the pyramidal setup of the characters’ positions, the use of chiaroscuro (in this instance, the brown earth and the sky) and the facial expressions of the two children, very similar to Michelangelo’s drawings.
The painting, today located in the Uffizi Gallery, suffered serious damage in 1547 when the ceiling collapsed in the building where it was housed, splitting it into 17 pieces; the fragments were put together immediately and the painting was later restored by the Opificio delle Pietre Dure.