Botticelli’s Virgin and Child
with Young John the Baptist
Issue Date: October 23, 2008
City: New York, NY
Renaissance artist Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510) was born in Florence, Italy. He learned to paint as an apprentice to Fra Filippo Lippi, famous for creating the most beautiful Madonnas in Florence. Botticelli opened his own workshop in 1470. Soon, many of Florence’s most prestigious families were turning to him for portraits and religious paintings. In 1481, the renowned Florence painter was invited by Pope Sixtus IV to fresco the walls of the Sistine Chapel in Rome, Italy.
The Madonna and Child With Angel shown on this cover’s cachet was painted by Botticelli between 1465 and 1467. The tempera (egg mixed with pigment) on panel piece was painted for Florence’s orphanage, Spedale degli Innocenti, where it remains today.
The Madonna has been featured on a U.S. Christmas stamp almost every year since 1965. It is found again in 2008 with Botticelli’s Virgin and Child with the Young John the Baptist. Students may have painted parts of this masterpiece, which was created in Botticelli’s large workshop around 1490. The tempera and oil on wood painting showcases the loving relationship between Mother and Child. Today, the painting is owned by the Cleveland Museum of Art.