Painted in 1505 and located in the Uffizi Galleries in Florence, Italy, this beautiful painting reflects Raphael’s Florentine period when he was closely studying the work of Leonardo da Vinci. The figures of Mary, baby Jesus and a young St. John the Baptist are arranged in a triangular composition. St. John shows Christ a goldfinch – symbol of his passion as its red spot was thought to be the result of a drop of Christ’s blood falling upon the bird’s head as it removed a thorn from Christ’s head. Christ caresses the bird as if indicating his acceptance of his future crucifixion, at which point Mary apprehensively looks down at John and closes her hand on his back. Buona visione!