Artist: Goya (Francisco de Goya y Lucientes) (Spanish, Fuendetodos 1746–1828 Bordeaux)
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 50 x 40 in. (127 x 101.6 cm)
Credit Line: The Jules Bache Collection, 1949
Accession Number: 49.7.41
The sitter is the son of the Count and Countess of Altamira. Outfitted in a splendid red costume, he is shown playing with a pet magpie (which holds the painter's calling card in its beak), a cage full of finches, and three wide-eyed cats. In Christian art birds frequently symbolize the soul, and in Baroque art caged birds are symbolic of innocence. Goya may have intended this portrait as an illustration of the frail boundaries that separate the child's world from the forces of evil or as a commentary on the fleeting nature of innocence and youth.