The Madonna of the Flowering Pea
Date of Issue
October 20, 1978
Series Time Span
Perforation or Dimension
Designed by Jean Morin.
"The Madonna of the Flowering Pea", circa 1425 National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario
Three early Renaissance paintings from the collection of Canada's National Gallery were chosen to illustrate this year's Christmas commemoratives. Only the focal point of each composition appears on the stamps: mother and infant. If Saint Luke had not written his unique account of the birth and first years of Jesus from the virgin Mary's side of the story, she would have remained almost unknown. However, because of his presumed direct access to the mother of Jesus, the Gospel of this holy historian/painter became the source inspiration for generations of artists seeking to represent one of the most prevailing and poignant images of Christianity - the Madonna and Child. "Perhaps" is a word only too familiar to art historians attempting to identify the unsigned paintings of the past. The only firm designation that can so far be given to "The Madonna of the Flowering Pea", on the 12-cent stamp, is that it is an early 15th century work of an anonymous master of Cologne. Unfortunately this painting, like so many other early masterpieces, was subjected at one time to "restoration", which involved superimposing extraneous colour and accessories according to the whims of the touch-up artist. In this case the over-painting has been removed, so that the Madonna has been returned - although showing some injury - to its original beauty and simplicity. The flowering pea (or any other flowering plant) is the sign of birth and regeneration. The details from this masterpiece are reproduced with the kind permission of the National Gallery, Ottawa. Jean Morin, who heads his own graphics communications firm in Montreal, is responsible for the layout and typography of this stamp.
Canada. Post Office Department. [Postage Stamp Press Release], 1978.
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