Goldfinch Unchained

A paper mache goldfinch

Goldfinch Unchained
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  • Goldfinch Unchained
    Goldfinch Unchained
  • Goldfinch Unchained
  • Goldfinch Unchained
  • Goldfinch Unchained
    Goldfinch Unchained
  • Goldfinch Unchained
    Paper mache goldfinch

Goldfinch Unchained

A hand made paper mache figure of a goldfinch bird, having escaped her shackles, sits on top of a book, also called The Goldfinch.

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I made a little goldfinch paper mache figure. She’s escaped her shackles and sits on top of a book. It’s a sculpture about freedom and inspiration, reality and fiction, to say nothing of trompe-l’œil!

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt was a best selling novel published in 2014. The novel’s plot revolves around the exquisite, tiny painting of Het Puttertje/The Goldfinch by Carel Fabritius. Fabritius was a painter from Delft during the Golden Age of Dutch painting. He died in the same year that he painted his tiny goldfinch painting. Goldfinches were popular pets in those days and The original painting now hangs in the Mauritshuis in the Hague which I went to see it in 2013. It was captivating! I felt as if the bird would just fly away, but of course it couldn’t. 1. It wasn’t real, it was a painting, and 2. even if it had been real, the bird was chained to its perch, enslaved by humans to sing for our pleasure. Find out more about the painting here.

The sculpture comes in two parts. The bird is constructed of paper mache and wire, painted in acrylic and varnished. The book, a ‘repurposed’ paperback, and has been painted to mimic the paperback novel – though with quite significant changes. Not least, the bird has flown off the cover! The book has a wire on the back so the whole thing can be hung on your wall if you wish, although it is free-standing.

On the ‘back cover’ is a mock-painted Delft tile – and my signature, of course.

The whole thing stands 280mm tall, 180mm wide. and about 100mm deep. The book is held open.

“To understand the world at all, sometimes you could only focus on a tiny bit of it, look very hard at what was close to hand and make it stand in for the whole…” Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch