Madonna of the Fir Tree, 1925
The symbolism of this painting is interesting. The Blessed Mother wears red, a color she is not usually pictured in, but red is associated with power and importance. The fir tree: The fir tree is a symbol of the elect in Heaven, who despise lowly desires. It also symbolizes people who excel in the virtue of patience. The black bird: the black feathers and melodious song represented the temptation of sin. Tradition tells us that one day when St. Benedict was praying the Devil appeared to him in the form of a blackbird which tried to divert him from his devotions. St. Benedict was not fooled: he made the Sign of the Cross and the Devil departed in haste.
”Not only do they offend thee, O Lady, who outrage thee, but thou art also offended by those who neglect to ask thy favors . . . He who neglects the service of the Blessed Virgin will die in his sins . . . He who does not invoke thee, O Lady, will never get to Heaven . . . Not only will those from whom Mary turns her countenance not be saved, but there will be no hope of their salvation . . . No one can be saved without the protection of Mary." --Saint Bonaventure, Cardinal-Bishop and Doctor of the Church