Works from the National Gallery of Art

Perugino - Madonna and Child

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"Madonna and Child," c. 1500, by Pietro Perugino, oil on panel,
Samuel H. Kress Collection, National Gallery of Art
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1986 Christmas stamp issued October 24th in Washington, DC (Scott 2244)

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).