1994 29¢ Madonna and Child
Issue Date: October 20, 1994
City: Washington, DC
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Lithographed and engraved
Even in 17th-century Bologna, Italy, which was known for its intellectual and artistic women, the talent of Elisabetta Sirani was considered unusual. Remarkably gifted, young Sirani learned to paint in her father’s studio, where she studied under Guido Reni, one of the most influential painters of her day.
Sirani went on to develop her own individual style, which even today continues to stand out among other seventeenth-century art. Her considerable talent and fresh approach to traditional themes made her works sought after and highly praised by her contemporaries. Although her career lasted only ten short years, she created more than 190 works of art, the majority of which were produced for private patrons. Completed just two years before her death, her oil painting of the Virgin and Child has been admired not only for its sweet and intimate scene, but also for its technical mastery.
Sirani’s sudden death in 1665 at age 27 remains a mystery. So beloved was she, that the entire city of Bologna went into mourning, arranging a magnificent funeral for her. As a final tribute, she was buried next to Guido Reni.
This was the first year the traditional Christmas stamp featured work by a woman artist.