The Virgin and Child Enthroned
Date of Issue
October 20, 1978
Series Time Span
Perforation or Dimension
Designed by Jean Morin.
Jacopo di Cione, "Triptych of the Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints", circa 1370-138 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. The earliest work is a triptych of the Florentine school dating from the second half of the 14th century, "The Virgin and Child with Saints, the Annunciation, the Nativity and the Crucifixion". The whole piece is identified with Jacopo di Cione although only the side panels can be directly attributed to him. But then who actually painted the centre panel featuring the Virgin and Child? Because Jacopo was the younger brother of Andrea Orcagna, a leading Florentine architect, sculptor and painter, and because one of the distinguishing features of the Orcagna family's work was the placing of a flowered background curtain behind the principal figures, perhaps Andrea, or some other relative of Jacopo's, was also involved in working on the central portion of the triptych. In the detail shown on the 30¢ stamp, the infant holds a goldfinch in his left hand. In the symbolism associated with Christian art, the bird represents the passion of Christ. 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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