1997 32¢ Madonna
Issue Date: October 27, 1997
City: Washington, DC
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Lithographed
Perforations: Serpentine die cut 9.9
The religious theme of the traditional Christmas stamp was continued this year with a detail from Sano di Pietro’s Madonna and Child with Saints and Angels. The original painting, which measures 25 1/2 by 17 1/4 inches, is part of the Samuel H. Kress Collection at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Sano di Pietro was quite important in his hometown of Siena, Italy, where his conservative, decorative style was popular. He was commissioned to paint altarpieces, panels, and miniatures in Siena and in neighboring districts. Sano was also a very productive painter – there are more than 300 of his known works still in existence today. He completed Madonna and Child with Saints and Angels in 1471, at the age of 65.
In the painting, the Christ child is being held by his mother while he is holding a bird and looking at the saints and angels near him. The painting is characteristic of Sano di Pietro’s use of bright, ornate colors and pious themes. It is also a beautiful example of his careful craftsmanship.
Historically, Sano di Pietro’s contribution to art was the way in which he continued the typical form of the Sienese tradition, keeping alive the technique and style of the previous century.