the pz gesture of the lactating goddess Table of contents

Abstract & Preface

poetry by
Adrienne Rich


Chapter I
The hand of "El caballero de la mano al pecho"

Chapter II
Iconographical sources of nursing and nursing gestures in pre-Christian and non-Christian cultures

Chapter III
Iconographical sources of nursing and nursing gestures in Christian cultures

Chapter IV
Breast-feeding forms in the Renaissance

Chapter V
Literary sources of lactating goddesses

Chapter VI
The meaning of the Ostentatio Mammarum
and the pseudo- zygodactylous gesture


Illustrations & Bibliography

Biographical sketch

Footnotes


Chapter IV:
Breast-feeding forms in the Renaissance

Historical and methodological note History has left very little of the art of the ancient world, leaving us few images with limited motifs by which to test our hypothesis. Conversely, as we approach the modern era and the cultural heritage of Christianity, we are provided with an overabundance of examples of both the Virgin nursing the child Jesus and the pseudo-zygodactylous gesture in its various manifestations. Compared to the preceding body of ancient materials, Christianity is a relative cornucopia of breast-feeding images connected with the pseudo-zygodactylous gesture. Because of this plethora of new material the artwork wthat follows will need to be presented in a different manner than above, using an abbreviated form of the six styles of the p/z gesture's occurrence as listed above in the preliminary hypothesis. These abbreviated models of the gesture's use are:

1. Mother & Child (maternal dyad)
2. Virgin & humans/sinners/Relief of pain: (milk projected through space) (multiple/communal dyad)
3. Juno & Hercules/Hera & Herakles/Gift of Immortality/adoption (spiritual dyad)
4. Mediatrix/Intercesora (triad)
5. Blessing/affirmation/adoption (SS Bernard, Augustine), and
6. the pseudo-zygodactlous gesture alone qua religious gesture.

Figure 5. Gerard David (1450-1523), Rest in the escape to Egypt. Museo del Prado, Madrid. postcard

Figure 6. Joos van Cleve (1464-1540), Halte en Exil. Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Bruxelles. postcard

Figure 7. Niederländischer Meister (ca. 1500), The Virgin and Child. Kunstmuseum, Basel. postcard

Figure 8. Gerard David (1450-1523), Virgin con Niño. Museo Lázaro Galdiano, Madrid. postcard

1. Mother and Child (maternal dyad) Beginning in the 12th century the Virgin enthroned nursing Jesus and using the pseudo-zygodactylous gesture is a common occurrence. In the first extant image of the Virgin nursing in Italy, from the faćade of S. Maria in Trastevere in Rome, the Virgin copies the gesture used by the Coptic Virgins of the index finger above the nipple and the other three without distinction below.124 This type, however, is not as common as those in which the Virgin allows the Child to nurse on his own without her touching her breast.125 In Shorr's sampling of 14th-century Italian paintings of the lactating Mary only six out of 54 paintings of the nursing Virgin used the pseudo-zygodactylous gesture (11%). However, the Virgin used no gesture to her breast in 40 out of the 54 paintings, sitting passively as Jesus nursed. In the other 14 paintings in which the Virgin touches her breast to nurse the child, six hands are cupped like Isis, six use the pseudo-zygodactylous gesture. In the remaining two paintings the hand is placed on top of the breast or with the second and third fingers above the nipple resembling the Kohanic blessing. This second small and arbitrary sampling provides a further indication that the p/z gesture is suitably equated with the Virgin breast-feeding: 1269 ce "Virgen de la Leche" Spanish;126 the oldest version in Spain of the Maria lactans: the Virgin Mary sits and nurses the baby Jesus, cupping her right breast with her right hand, while holding his head with her left hand splayed in the pseudo-zygodactylous gesture; four archangels surround her as the four emblems of the evangelists mark the corners of the illustration. Early 15th century "Saint Luke painting the Virgin" Rogier van der Weyden (1399?-1464) Flemish;127 Mary nursing the child Jesus with the p/z gesture as Luke looks on and draws. Early 15th century "The Virgin and Child/the Salting Madonna" Robert Campin/ Master of Flémalle;128 Mary with a fire guard behind her head as a halo, pressing her right breast with her right hand in the p/z gesture as Jesus, not nursing, gazes at the viewer. 15th century "Panaghia nursing Jesus Christ" Greek;129 a "miraculous" portable Greek Orthodox icon of the crowned Virgin Mary nursing Jesus ('Galaktotrophusa') ; Mary holds her left breast with her right hand in the classical p/z gesture as Jesus, cradled in her left arm, holds her fifth finger. 1485 "Virgin and Child with the two Saints John" by Botticelli, Italian;130 Mary sitting with the infant Jesus with a Saint John on either side; Jesus looks at the viewer and gestures towards Mary's breast; Mary exposes only the nipple of her left breast, holding it in the classical p/z manner. 1490-95 "Madonna of the pavilion" or "Madonna under a baldachin" by Botticelli, Italian;131 Mary kneels in reading under a pavilion of drapery, and responds to the infant Jesus' want to nurse. She bares her right breast with her left hand in the p/z gesture. Three angels are present: two that open the pavilion's drapes, and one that supports the baby Jesus as he stands and stretches his arms out to his mother. 1496 "The penance of St. John Chrysostom" by Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) German, engraving of a naked woman/princess nursing a child, sitting on an outcropping of rocks; p/z gesture with her left hand to her right breast; John Chrysostom, one of the Four Greek Fathers in the Eastern Church, naked and on all-fours in the background.132 Dürer repeats the gesture in his other works, e.g., "Madonna on a grassy bench" (1516?),133 "Holy kinship with two musical angels" 1511,134 "Madonna on the crescent" 1511,135 "Madonna nursing" 1512;136 even the "Man of Sorrows seated" (the risen Christ with the implements of his death) 1515137 uses the p/z gesture as he places his hand upon his chest. Early 16th century "The Rest on the flight to Egypt" by Gerard David (†1523)Flemish; Mary sits on a rock as she nurses Jesus (who gazes at us while nursing) with the p/z gesture. 1533 "Mary with Child" by Lucas Cranach the Elder (?) Germany; Mary nursing Jesus, holding her right breast with her left hand with the classical p/z gesture. Lucas always uses the p/z gesture, a few with some minor variation.138 Medieval and 16th century Spain: Aznar offers seven illustrations of the Maria lactans in his review of medieval Spanish painting and six illustrations of the Maria lactans in the 16th century.139 Three out of the seven medieval (1390-1500) paintings use the pseudo-zygodactylous gesture in its classical form. The other four nursing Madonnas do not use any gesture, nor do they touch their breast at all. All six of the 16th century paintings portray Mary in the act of nursing using some form of the pseudo-zygodactylous gesture, four of which use it in the orthodox form, one uses it but with the nipple between the thumb and second finger (instead of second and third), while another's gesture has the second finger almost but not quite too close to the third. For roughly the same time period of medieval Spain, van Os studied the images of Mary created by the painters of Sienna from 1300-1450.140 Out of over twenty illustrations showing the Virgin Mary nursing the infant Jesus, not one depicted Mary gesturing in the slightest way towards her breast. All the figures, in fact, showed Mary as the Madonna dell'Umilta --the Madonna of Humility, sitting on the ground or on a floor cushion in the manner of the Mideast.

2. Virgin & humans/sinners/Relief of pain: (milk projected through space) (multiple/communal dyad) Images of Mary's milk projected from her breast through space to humans below is a late composition, said to have originated from Bernard's miracle of lactation and "empowered" by the artists of Sevilla.141 There are very few paintings of this theme, all of which here come from the south and east of Spain. Manuel Trens asserts that this theme of Mary showing her mercy towards her spiritual children is derived from "aquel otro [tema], muy antiguo, ... en que la Virgen implora misericordia al Padre celestial o a su Hijo, con el gesto maternal de presentar sus pechos, como argumento más emocionante y decisivo," calling the mortals' souls "sus hijos, espiritualmente colactáneos de Jesús."142

1517 "La Madona del sufragio" or "La maternidad espiritual de María" or "La Virgen dando su leche a las almas del purgatorio" by Pedro Machuca Mary squirting milk to the souls in purgatory who "luchan para alcanzar, con la boca abierta, el néctar que María y Jesús dejan caer sobre aquel lugar de tormento."143 16th century "La Virgen dando su leche a los devotos" Valencia.144 a crowned Mary holding and nursing Jesus, no gestures to breast; gilded mantle held in back of her by two angels; while more than 16 one-third size mortals stand around her knees holding up bowls and jars to catch any possible drops of milk. 1777 "La Virgen dando su leche a los devotos" Valencia.145 drawing/cartoon of the previous painting: no change except now there are only two near-normal size men kneeling at her feet holding up a jar each to catch the many drops of milk that flow from her covered breast. Mary's breasts are not exposed; nonetheless drops of her milk fall from under her hands which are holding Jesus.

3. Juno & Hercules/Hera & Herakles/Gift of Immortality/adoption (spiritual dyad) Isis and Horus had their days in the sun and had long departed from the iconography of Europe when the Middle Ages arrived on the horizon. Juno/Hera nursing Hercules/Herakles, however, represents the only religious theme carried over from a dead age of a civilization into the next even after its practical religious context had supposedly disappeared. The Etruscan rendition of the myth, as mentioned above, of Hera nursing the adult Herakles is not found again after its Etruscan incidence. 1577 "The origin of the Milky Way" by Tintoretto, Venice;146 in this composition an unidentified floating figure (Zeus?/athena?) wrapped loosely in a bolt of cloth from below the arms, holds the baby Heracles (Hercules) in mid-air as he is placed to Hera's breast. Hera, below and to the left, nude and semi-reclined, holds her arms out away from her body to receive the child who is at her breast. Her left arm in mid-air is formed in a loose pseudo-zygodactylous gesture. Two naked floating infants (putti?) are also present, as are a peacock, attribute of Hera, and an eagle, attribute of Zeus, Herakles' father. Out from Hera's breasts, shooting up and down, are golden lines ending in golden stars which symbolize the origin of the Milky Way in Hera's breast milk shooting across the heavens, caused by the force with which Herakles sucked. "The birth of the Milky Way" or "Junon formant le voie lactée" by Rubens (1577-1640);147 Juno, nude, sitting with the infant Hercules, nursing-squirting milk at him from her left breast with her right hand in a pseudo-zygodactylous gesture. Jupiter sits on the back of his eagle-drawn chariot, watching. (Roman goddesses and gods are based on Greek originals: Juno : Hera, Hercules : Herakles, Jupiter : Zeus.)

4. Mediatrix/Intercesora (triad) The first appearance of the pseudo-zygodactylous gesture within European Christian art occurs in the 12th century in a mosaic of the Virgin as mediatrix in the great west wall picture of the Torcello church.148 The Virgin in the mosaic stands in the posture of an orante, hands raised from the elbows with her fingers splayed in the formal manner of the p/z gesture. Her hands, however, are raised with the palms outwards, facing the viewer, and she remains completely covered with no display of her breast whatsoever. Immediately above her is the angel of judgment carrying a balance to weigh the mortals' souls as devils attempt to tip the scale with material goods. To her left are the damned and death, and to the right, priests and life. Above all the images of the priests, angels, apostles, Mary, Jesus, and God the Father, and directly above the Mary of the lower level, is Christ enthroned, sitting in judgment. This positioning of Mary closest to human beings and mediating on their behalf while Christ sits above in judgment of their souls became the standard manner of representing the respective positions of the Mother and Son dyad in the developing iconography of the pseudo-zygodactylous gesture. The iconography of Mary exposing her breast (ostentation mammarum) as intercessor or mediatrix dates back to the 10th century in which Mary shows the part of her humanity, i.e., her breast, that connects her as mother to Jesus; Jesus, in turn, exposes the part of his humanity that connects him to his father--his wounds (ostentatio vulnerum), which his father asked him to suffer. Catharina Film, in her study of the Intercessio Christi figure in Swedish medieval art, presents a collection of statues and paintings on the intercession theme in which the traditional pseudo-zygodactylous gesture is not used once by the Virgin Mary, at least in the regional art of Scandinavia. Neither is the p/z gesture used in the Dutch Book of Hours of Catherine of Cleves. Instead Mary always holds her breast in the manner of Isis, cupping it from below with only the thumb above the nipple or to the side.

10th or 13th century "Virgen intercesora" miniature from the "Biblia Minioda" Spanish;149 Mary, standing to the left of Jesus seated in a mandorla, holds both breasts towards him in a cupping gesture. 1276-83 church dome by Richard de Haldingham;150 wall painting of Jesus the Judge enthroned in heavenly clouds with his hands raised like an orante to show his wounds; two angels at his sides carry the implements of his death as two others blow the horns of judgment; another angel to the left leads a group of human beings, headed by a bishop and king, to judgement; to the right an angel admonishes a group of condemned naked humans as a devil leads them away in a rope; below Jesus is the Virgin Mary with two angels and another woman; Mary opens her dress top with both hands and exposes her breasts to Jesus. Ca. 1385-90 "Man of Sorrows and Mary intercede with God the Father," illustrated manuscript by a Flemish master;151 Jesus on the left kneels, showing the wound in his side as Mary on the right kneels, showing her right breast with her right cupped hand, both gazing on the enthroned God the Father. Ca. 1430-40 "Last Judgment," illustrated manuscript by the Master of Catherine of Cleves, Netherlands;152 Jesus the Judge sits on a rainbow as Mary (to the left), holding her bared breast in a cupping gesture, and John the Baptist (to the right) kneel below requesting pardon for the sinners and dead; sinners above the Mother and saint and to the sides of Christ as "the resurrected dead emerge as naked figures from the earth." This is an adapted illumination from a woodcut from the medieval manuscript, the Speculum humanæ salvationis.153 In it the Virgin also cups her bared breast. ca. 1430-1440 "Crucifixion with God the Father, the Virgin, a Patron-Saint, and Catherine of Cleves" "Catherine pleads with the Holy Mother of God to pray for her; the Virgin intercedes with her Son to be gracious to Catherine for His mother's sake, whose breasts nursed him; Christ crucified asks, in the name of His wounds, for His Father to spare Catherine, and the Father tells His Son, "Your prayer has been heard with favor." On the tiled floor, at either side of the cross, kneel the Virgin (on a red carpet) to the left, and Catherine (on a blue carpet) to the right. The Virgin, one of her breasts bare and spurting milk, gazes up at her son."154 Mary at the foot of the cross, holding bared breast with her nipple between her thumb and second finger, and with her third and fourth fingers in the p/z gesture.

1480 Altarspiece from the Forsa, Hälsingland, Sweden, church;155 sculptured scene in painted wood with four figures from left to right: God the Father, the crowned king, sitting, speaking to his son, the crucified Christ (second from left), who kneels as he holds the cross and gestures to the wound in his side; the Man of Sorrows (third from left), standing, holding the crown of thorns and showing his wounds (ostentatio vulnerum) to his kneeling mother Mary (fourth from left) who shows him her right breast with her right hand in a Isis cupping gesture. 1480 church wall painting from the EnĆnger, Sweden, church;156 Mary bares and shows her right breast with her right hand in a cupping gesture as Jesus, the Man of Sorrows, shows the wound on his right side with his right hand, using the same gesture as Mary, as his blood pours from his five wounds into a chalice at his right foot. 1486 church wall painting from the Pargas, Sweden, church;157 with three main areas in the shape of a triangle, top third: God the Father above with angels; lower left: Jesus as Man of Sorrows kneels and shows the wound in his right side; lower right: Mary shows God the Father her right breast with her right hand as she holds her cloak open for numerous human beings to receive her protection/mediation. Late 15th century "The Virgin interceding" Colyn de Coter, French;158 a detail of a painting in which the Virgin Mary kneels in front of a group of women with a breast in her right hand, held with the pseudo-zygodactylous gesture. (See figure 9.) 1508 "Memorial to the burgomaster Ulrich Schwartz/Man of Sorrows and Mary intercede before God the Father" painting by Hans Holbein the Elder; God the Father and Jesus (Man of Sorrows), and Mary, with sinners, sitting enthroned and standing, intercessio Christi et Maria, cupping breast, squirting milk at the sinners (donors) below; "Above the Man of Sorrows are the lines: 'Father, see my red wounds, help men in their need, through my bitter death;' and above Mary: 'Lord, sheath thy sword that thou hast drawn, and see my breast, where the Son has sucked;' and above God the Father, who returns his sword to its scabbard: 'I will show pity to all those who depart from life in true repentance.'"159 ca. 1533, painted altarpiece, vertical diptych, of the plague image "Man of Sorrows intercedes, angels with arma Christi, Virgin, Saints Roch and Sebastian" by Martin Schaffner;160 God the Father, sitting enthroned, and Jesus (Man of Sorrows) kneeling above, and Mary and two saints, standing, with mortals around them (including a pope, cardinal, king, and other nobility); God the Father and Mary on left diptych, Christ and saints on right; angel shooting arrows of plague to earth, intercessio Christi et Maria; Mary, holding her cape open to shelter the human sinners, holds her right hand to her left breast in the p/z gesture; the nipple of her breast can hardly be distinguished.

Figure 9. Colyn de Coter, "The Virgin interceding" Brussels (late 15th century)

16th century "María, intercesora ante el Padre" by the Castilian School;161 God the Father to the left raises his hand in benediction, Jesus raises his right to show the wound in his hand and with his left hand shows the wound in his right side as angels hold the other implements of his torture and death, and Mary, kneeling behind Jesus to the painting's right, holding her right breast with her left hand with the pseudo-zygodactylous gesture, her right hand open, gesturing towards Jesus and the Father. "Intecession de la Vierge et de Saint Franćois arrźtant les Foudres divines" by Peter-Paul Rubens (1577-1640), Flemish;162 Jesus raises his right arm, clasping thunderbolts of wrath as Mary, to the right, touches his left arm while baring her left breast with her right hand in a modified p/z gesture, not a cupping gesture; Saint Francis, meanwhile, attempts to shield the globe of the Earth from Jesus' wrath with his body. "María, intercesora ante el Hijo" by Mateo Cerezo († 1666);163 Jesus enthroned in the clouds, Mary kneeling before him in a lower cloud to the left with her hand to her breast in the p/z gesture, as Saint Augustine holds a rosary up to him and Saint Francis of Assisi holds up a loaf of bread--all in order to request mercy from Jesus who judges a semi-nude human male kneeling below him. In the same role as intercesora/mediatrix, Mary, in the painting "L'intercession de la Vierge en faveur des Ames du Purgatoire" by Philippe De Champaigne,164 Mary stands behind the judging Christ with her right hand to her left breast, without the pseudo-zygodactylous gesture, while extending her left arm downwards towards the souls in purgatory with the p/z gesture. This is an example of the evolution and migration of the gesture, from breast-feeding to salvation gesture, and from placement on the breast to gesticulation in the abstract.

5. Blessing/affirmation/adoption (SS Bernard, Augustine) The imagery of Bernard's miracle of lactation is founded on the words purported to have been spoken by Bernard in prayer before a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, "Monstra te esse matrem." With this request the statue is said to have come alive and have 'expressed' a stream of milk to the mouth of Bernard. Louis Réau traces the iconography of the lactation miracle of Bernard back to the 14th century, finding three paintings from that period, six in the 15th century, eight in the 16th, seven in the 17th, and ends with three in the 18th century.165 14th century "Legend of St. Bernard" Majorcan;166 The Virgin Mary stands holding Jesus in right arm, pressing her right breast with her left hand using the p/z gesture; shooting a stream of milk to the kneeling Bernard in a praying attitude as three saints look on (fig. 10). > 15th century "La légende de la lactation" Flemish;167 p/z gesture to breast and holding the Christ child; Bernard holding book and pen; no milk.

ca. 1475 "Maria erscheint dem heilegen Bernhard" flemish;168 breast cupped with left hand, holding Jesus with right hand; Bernard kneels and prays; no milk. ca. 1540? "Aparición de la Virgen a San Bernardo" by Juan Correa,169 Spanish; Virgin in a mandorla cloud presses her right breast with her right hand to shoot a stream of milk to Bernard using the p/z gesture, holding Jesus in her left arm; Bernard kneels as he receives her milk. 15th century "The lactation miracle of St. Bernard,"170 detail of a retablo by the Valencian Master of Burgo de Osma; the Virgin appears to Bernard alone in a mandorla above an altar, pressing her breast between her thumb and second finger to shoot a stream of milk to the lips of Bernard; Bernard holds his hands in prayer and receives the milk drawn in a straight line from the Virgin's nipples to his closed lips. 1659 "La légende de la "lactation" mystique de saint Bernard" Bruxelles;171 The Virgin standing, with the baby Jesus in her left arm, and Bernard kneeling, elevated above the earth on clouds, overlooking Clairvaux, Bernard's newly established monastery; the Virgin squirts a stream of milk into Bernard's waiting mouth; no gesture visible 1665-75 "La visión de San Bernardo" by Bartolomé Murillo,172 Bernard kneeling with his hand on his chest in the pseudo-zygodactylous gesture receiving milk from the Virgin Mary; the Virgin appears in a cloudy mandorla and presses her right breast with her right hand to shoot a stream of milk to the saint, her nipple between her thumb and second finger, while she holds Jesus in her left arm. Rubens (1577-1640) "Saint Augustin en moine."173 In the painting the figure of the risen Christ holding a cross looks down upon the saint from the left side, while the Virgin on the right presses her right breast with her right hand, presumably to gift Augustine, on whom she gazes, with her milk. Augustine himself kneels between the mother and son looking up into the heavens with his arms crossed. Directly associated with Murillo's painting of the lactation vision of Augustine is the painting by Murillo, "The vision of Saint Augustine" ca. 1678174 in which the bearded Augustine kneels with his hands low and outstretched, with the image of Christ crucified on the viewer's left, gazing upwards towards Mary, to the viewer's right, who is pressing her breast to squirt a stream of milk to his lips; putti fill the upper realms of the painting. ? "Saint Bernard et la Vierge," by the Master of the life of the Virgin, Cologne, the Virgin and Bernard stand in a mundane scene behind a low wall on which the baby Jesus sits; Bernard gazes at the child as Mary, with eyes lowered towards the saint, bares her left breast and holds it with the pseudo-zygodactylous gesture; Jesus touches her p/z hand, as Bernard touches the leg of Jesus with one hand while holding a book with the other; no milk.

6. Pseudo-zygodactylous gesture alone qua religious gesture 1470 "Madonna and Child" by Marco Zoppo;175 the Virgin holds the naked baby Jesus as he stands on a low wall and touches her chin; Mary holds his right foot with her right hand as she holds his mid-chest with her left hand in the p/z gesture. "St. Petronissa" painting by Guercino;176 two-levels in the painting: on top, Jesus enthroned in the clouds with his arms outstretched showing his wounds, Mary kneeling in front of him asking for mercy for the humans below; her arms are crossed against her chest, with her right hand in the p/z gesture held against her left arm in the foreground; the bottom of the painting shows the lowering of the corpse of St. Petronissa into a grave. 1517 "Carondelet diptych" by Jan Gossart dit Mabuse, Flemish;177 on the left wing of the diptych is a bust portrait of the donor, Jean Carondelet, with his hands in a praying gesture; on the right is the Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus with her left hand under his bottom and her right hand in the pseudo-zygodactylous gesture on his right breast, even with his nipple between her second and third fingers (see figure 11). Both donor and Mary gaze slightly downward, off into space, vaguely towards each others' direction, while Jesus looks straight at the donor. Around the donor's frame are the words "Representacion De Messire Iehan Carondelet Havlt Doyen De Besancon En Son Eage De 48A Fait Lan 1517;" around Mary and Jesus the frame says "Mediatrix Nostra Que Es Post Deum Spes Sola Tuo Filio Me Representa Iohannes Meldobie Pingebat."

Figure 11. Jan Gossart dit Mabuse, "Carondelet diptych" 1517. Flemish

1525-40 "St. Roch" by Parmigianino;178 St. Roch gazes upward towards heaven as he stands in movement, dog under his left leg, touching a kneeling and praying man on the shoulder; St. Roch holds the p/z gesture to right chest. 1540-45 "The temptation of Christ" by Tiziano;179 a half-body portrait of Jesus being tempted by material pleasures in the desert during his fast; a young boy to the left offers him a small box (of jewels, of riches?); Jesus looks downward and holds his right hand to his chest in the p/z gesture, the same as "El caballero de la mano al pecho." 17th century portrait "Dom Miguel del Pozo" by Zurbarán (1598-1662) of a Spanish monk of the Order of Our Lady of Mercy;180 dressed in a white habit, the monk gazes downward while holding the pseudo-zygodactylous gesture to his mid-chest. "Coronation of the Virgin" by Moretto da Brescia;181 Christ in the heavenly clouds crowns the kneeling Mary who holds her right hand in the p/z gesture to her left arm; below Gabriel slays the devil while three other saints look on, one of whom is St. Francis, who holds his right hand to his chest as he gazes on the scene above. "The Virgin and Child" "Opus Karoli Crivelli Veneti;"182 the Virgin standing behind her son who sits on a low wall, holding a goldfinch and looking at a fly which also sits on the wall; to both sides of Mary's head are hanging fruits and vegetables; Mary looks distracted off to the left as her left hand in the p/z gesture is splayed: thumb and second finger on Jesus' arm, third and fourth fingers pointing/touching Jesus' genitals, and fifth finger resting on his left leg.