1995 32¢ Madonna and Child
Issue Date: October 19, 1995
City: Washington, DC
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Lithographed and engraved
1995’s traditional Christmas stamp is based upon the work of one of the most influential painters in history, the Florentine artist Giotto di Bondone. Created during the 14th century, in the latter part of his career, the painting, entitled Enthroned Madonna and Child, was executed on the central portion of a five-section polyptych, or altarpiece. In the painting the Madonna offers a white rose to the Christ Child. This exquisite masterpiece is now a part of the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.
Legend has it Giotto was tending his father’s sheep one day when he began sketching on a rock with a sharp stone. The famous Italian painter Giovanni Cimabue happened to pass by and was so impressed that he made Giotto his apprentice. Under Cimabue’s direction, he became one of the most important painters of the 1300s.
Considered the father of Italian painting, his realistic style revolutionized art and had a tremendous impact on the painters of the Renaissance in the 1400s. Giotto was the first artist to portray nature realistically, giving his pieces a true sense of light and space, rather than creating a flat image. The figures in his paintings were also lifelike and endowed with convincing emotional qualities