U.S. # 4815a
2013 46¢ Virgin and Child by Jan Gossaert Booklet
This stamp pictures the 16th century painting Virgin and Child in a Landscape.
Jan Gossaert (circa 1478-1532) set the course for future artists in northern Europe. Born in Maubeuge, Flanders, now part of northern France, he developed skill as a portraitist early in his career. After traveling to Italy, Gossaert adopted the style of the Italian Renaissance. He was the first Flemish artist to visit the country known for its classical art.
Gossaert was commissioned to paint Biblical scenes for churches. He also became well-known for his depictions of mythological subjects, which decorated the castle walls of his patron, Philip of Burgundy.
After Philip’s death, Gossaert was supported by Mencía de Mendoza, an important art collector and one of the richest women in Spain. In 1531, he created Virgin and Child in a Landscape from which this 2013 Christmas stamp is taken. The artist portrays Mary in a thoughtful pose. Art historians believe she is contemplating her son’s future and the suffering he would endure. The child’s muscular body shows the influence of Italian art, while the face is similar to Gossaert’s native Flemish style.
Much of Gossaert’s work has been lost over time. The pieces that do remain give evidence of the artist’s innovative design, combining his northern European roots with Renaissance ideals.
The oil-on-wood painting that appears on #4815 comes from the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Gossaert’s art has appeared on two other U.S. stamps – #3675 and #3820 – the 2002 and 2003 Traditional Christmas issues both featured a detail from his 1520 painting, Madonna and Child.
Value: 46¢ 1-ounce first-class letter rate
Issued: October 11, 2013
First Day City: New York, NY
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Banknote Corporation of America for Sennett Security Products
Method: Offset printing in sheets of 480 in 24 booklets of 20
Perforation: Serpentine Die Cut 11
Quantity Printed: 400,000,000 stamps
The first U.S. Christmas stamp was issued in 1962. Since then, there have been both religious and contemporary Christmas stamps issued each year. Most of the religious issues have pictured a classical version of the Madonna and Child. Click here to learn more about the Traditional Christmas series.