Works from the National Gallery of Art

Vivarini - Madonna and Child

Tempera painting of the Madonna and child. The child's feet rest on a pillow.
“Madonna and Child,” c. 1475, by Bartolomeo Vivarini, tempera on panel,
Samuel H. Kress Collection, National Gallery of Art
Refer to caption
1999 Christmas stamp issued October 20th in Washington, DC (Scott 3355)

Bartolomeo Vivarini's “Madonna and Child” is considered more realistic than some of its counterparts, particularly in the expression of the child, and the rendering of their hands and feet. A “stylized” landscape and clouds behind the pair may appear slightly whimsical to the modern eye, but were reflections of the art of the period (Echols 2003). While Bartolomeo often co-signed his paintings with his brother Antonio, this one is considered one of Bartolomeo’s best individual works (Echols 2003).

In the offset lithograph print of the stamp, designed by Richard Sheaff, many of the fine details and brilliant color contrasts of the original painting were retained.