Girl with a Parrot by Sir Peter Lely ~ ca. 1670
The identity of the little girl in this rich and stately environment is unknown. Lely shows her as a small adult in the type of loose satin frock often worn by his female sitters. Her bare feet and the cherries she holds in her skirt, considered fruits of Paradise, symbolise innocence and virtue. She feeds some of them to a colourful African parrot, which wealthy families sometimes kept as exotic pets. Birds were sometimes seen as symbols of the soul; such a reading would continue the theme of childhood innocence.
Via: Tate Museum