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BALTIMORE (AP) — An Italian Renaissance painting by Raphael hanging in Baltimore’s Walters Art Museum has been chosen by the U.S. Postal Service as its official Christmas stamp.

Postal officials say they look for images that are relatively simple and appeal to stamp buyers when shrunk down to about an inch square. The “Madonna of the Candelabra” shows the Virgin Mary and Christ Child flanked by two candles. Stephen Kearney, executive director of stamp services, told The Baltimore Sun that the 16th century painting is one of just eight of the Virgin Mary and Christ Child to be chosen for reproduction in stamp form.

The stamp bearing the Raphael painting isn’t the only holiday stamp this year. A secular stamp also is released as well commemorative stamps for non-Christian celebrations.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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