The 1986 stamp designed by Bradbury Thompson is based on a painting by Pietro Vannucci, also known as Perugino. He was Raphael’s teacher and for a time, was considered the greatest painter in Italy. This particular painting was quite popular and was frequently copied (Brown 1993).
This stamp, like others in this featured collection with the exception of the 1978 stamp of a della Robbia sculpture, modestly crops out Jesus’ nudity. In this image, censoring the child's lower half changes the oblong composition into a square one, making Mary’s shoulders appear wider than her already massive form in the original painting. The landscape behind her was painted in great detail, which is part of the painting’s appeal for modern collectors (Brown 1993).