It’s Christmas 1975 in Antigua and here we have a reproduction of Giovanni Bellini’s Madonna With Child (also known as the Alzano Madonna).
Bellini was born in Venice in 1430 and was part of a highly-regarded family of painters in the Italian Renaissance. He helped transform Venetian painting through his use of rich colours, atmospheric landscapes and a certain lushness that became more established through his pupils, including Titian.
The Alzano Madonna was painted around 1485 in oil paint on board. Mother and child are portrayed in front of a tapestry with rather Italianate scenery in the background (the anomalous church of yesterday’s stamp being replaced by some rather lush northern Italian countryside). Bellini painted this subject a great deal but this is seen as on of his best attempts and a template for use later in his career.
Personally, I love the contrast in the faces – Mary all gentle and the baby Jesus with a proper scowl.
Meanwhile, in Antigua, there are some awesome Christmas traditions including carol trees, long ghosts and the dancing jumble… read more below!