2022 60¢ Virgin and Child – Traditional Christmas Series
Value: 60¢ 1-Ounce First-class Rate (Forever)
Issue Date: September 22, 2022
First Day City: Boston, MA
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Ashton Potter (USA) Ltd.
Printing Method: Offset, Microprint
Format: Booklet of 20
Quantity Printed: 200,000,000
The USPS has a long history of picturing Virgin and Child paintings on holiday stamps. In 2022, they pictured a piece by a 16th-century artist from Florence, Italy, known as the Master of the Scandicci Lamentation. Today, the original painting is housed in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
In painting his Virgin and Child, the Master of the Scandicci Lamentation followed a number of traditions popular with such works at the time. Like other artists who painted religious themes, he gave the young Mary a red dress and blue mantle. These colors represented her high status as the mother of Christ as wel as her purity, virginity, and royalty. In the 16th century, blue paint was usually made from lapis lazuli, a stone imported from Afghanistan. The color was reserved for only the most important figures in paintings.
This particular Virgin and Child painting was owned by a number of famous individuals including the Tempi family. They sold it to Italian painter and art dealer Emilio Costantini in 1906. Then it was sold a number of other times before being lef to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in the will of Mrs. Robert Dawson Evans. It is a relic of history and example of the fine skill of many Italian Renaissance painters.