Pitcairn Islands has chosen famous paintings depicting the Madonna and Child to feature in the 2003 Christmas issue. The stamps each show a detail from the original and beautifully represent the Christmas spirit. They also feature a border of the flower Morning Glory Ipomea indica, which is one of the flowers seen in Pitcairn’s current definitive stamp issue.

40c40c stamp: Holy Virgin in the Wreath of Flowers 
Detail, ~ Peter Paul Rubens and Jan Bruegel
Created between 1615 to 1618, this painting was a joint effort between Rubens who painted the figures and Bruegel who painted the flowers. It is considered a main work of Rubens, and Bruegel’s contribution has been described as a work of high artistic perfection.

$1.00$1.00 stamp: Madonna della Rosa
Detail, ~ Raphael Santi
Also known as “Holy Family with Jesus Boy grasping St. John’s scroll”, this painting was completed in the early 1500s. Raphael was taught by his father Giovanni and the famous Perugino.  His panels, frescoes and tapestry designs had a strong effect on high renaissance painting style. He died in 1520, at the age of 37.

$1.50$1.50 stamp: Stuppacher Madonna
Detail, ~ Matthias Grünewald
Known as one of the most important German 16th century artists, Grünewald’s expressive modernish paintings still captivate audiences. This painting described as an “artistic jewel”, was originally painted for an altar for the Ausburg church and is valued for its colours.

$3.00$3.00 stamp: Madonna with cherries
Detail, ~ Titian
Titian (1485 – 1576), along with Tintoretto and Veronese, count among the main masters of Venetian art in the 16th century. Titian led the way and although neither signed nor verified authentical, this painting is regarded to be created by Titian already approaching his later revolutionary style.

Technical Details

Release Date               17 November 2003
Denominations             40c, $1.00, $1.50, $3.00 (4 stamps)
Stamp Design              Derek Miller, UK
Printer                         Joh Enschede, The Netherlands
Process                       Offset Lithography
Paper                          110gsm stamp paper
Stamp Size                  38mm x 37.86mm
Pane                            2 x panes 25 stamps
Perforation Gauge        13.75 per 2cm
First Day Cover           $6.90 with four stamps