Similar to the depictions of Madonna with child, the goldfinch most frequently symbolizes the passion of Christ or the Gospel passages about it. The saint on the right was chosen at the request of the patron.
Together they occupy almost the entire area of the painting. The group is situated in a landscape with a high horizon. This type of composition frequently appeared in late quattrocento Tuscany and Umbria; the creator also adhered to the traditions in proportions. Fine details are sensitively outlined due to the spatial arrangements rather than three dimensional expression. The landscape in the background is reduced to a minimum. Everything is subordinated to the unified atmosphere of the figures and landscape.
The prototypes of Madonna with Child and St. Anthony and St. Dominic signed by Francesco Francia which are in St. Petersburg (Hermitage) could be the template. A painting with related iconography which can be found in several replicas was probably the direct model for the Madonna in Bratislava. The most faithful of them is the painting Madonna with Child with Goldfinch in Hand and St. Hieronymus and St. Francis and an Angel, designated as a product of the workshop of Francesco Francia of Verona (Museo di Castelvecchio).
The Bratislava painting is also a product of the Francia workshop, which for a long time was led by Giacomo Raibolini who was known as Francesco Francia and was active in Bologna (1457–1517). Giacomo (1486–1557) and Giulio (1487–1545), students and imitators of their father, continued in the family business. A unique monogram is engraved on the desk’s overleaf. He similarly used a monogram for the signing of engravings, if they were correctly attributed to Giacomo Francia.
Zuzana Ludiková ●
LUDIKOVÁ, Zuzana - BURAN, Dušan. Talianska maľba = Italian Painting. Bratislava : Slovenská národná galéria, 2013. 242 strán. ISBN 9788080591748.