Chacón Madonna and Child with Bird
Issue Date: October 17, 2006
City: Denver, CO
Quantity Issued: 700,000,000
Printed by: Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Perforations: 10 ¾ x 11
Since 1966, the United States Postal Service has issued traditional holiday stamps with a Madonna-and-Child motif, with images from the work of various Renaissance artists. While holiday stamps with more contemporary designs appear nearly every year, the Madonna-and-Child stamps are issued less frequently.
In 2006, the traditional holiday stamp features Madonna and Child with Bird, attributed to Peruvian artist Ignacio Chacón and painted around 1765. The oil-on-canvas work is part of the Engracia and Frank Barrows Freyer Collection of Peruvian colonial art at the Denver Museum.
Chacón was active from about 1745 to 1775 in the town of Cuzco, Peru. The Church and Convent of Merced in Cuzco contain paintings by Chacón of the life of Saint Peter Nolasco, the founder of the Merced order. Another Chacón painting of the Madonna can be found at this site.
Madonna and Child with Bird combines a bird, a sacred symbol for South American Incas, with the very European image of Mary and Jesus. The Incas revered birds for being able to fly close to the sun god Inti. Colonial artists often put birds or feathers in paintings of the Madonna and Child to symbolize their divinity.