The Goldfinch is my first experience reading Donna Tartt. The title refers to a painting by Dutch artist Carel Fabritius, the greatest Old Master you've never heard of-- Rembrandt's pupil, Vermeer's teacher. Fabritius was killed when a gunpowder explosion destroyed half the town of Delft and all but a handful of his paintings.
Theo Decker is 13 years old when he sees "The Goldfinch" in contemporary New York City. In fact, the same day he first sees the painting, he takes it as he escapes from the bombed museum where it had been exhibited.