Reporting Mike Schuh
BALTIMORE (WJZ)—By some accounts Baltimore is a perfect sized city. Big, but not so big that we can’t give a collective cheer when we are noticed by the outside world.
Now for Christmas, as Mike Schuh shows us, a bit of Baltimore pride is showing up all across the country.
Inside the Walters Art Museum are true treasures. Henry Walters’ amazing collection is a gift to Baltimore. And tucked away amidst rooms and rooms of powerful, moving objects, there is one he valued the most: “Madonna of the Candelabra.”
“Dear to all of our hearts is Henry Walters favorite painting, the Raphael Madonna and child,” said Gary Vikan, Walters Art Museum director. “It was his favorite painting.”
Painted in 1513, once owned by Napoleon Bonaparte’s brother, Walters bought it 110 years ago. And in its day, it made headlines.
“It was the first Raphael and child to come into the United States, and it caused an enormous stir,” Vikan said.
A dozen years ago, Cardinal Keeler used this image for his Christmas cards.
“Well 1999. As I recall it, Cardinal Keeler says he has an in with the post office, and every year they do a stamp and he loved this, so I thought this could be possible but years go by, and I get the stamp and it’s Chicago, or the national gallery or someone at the Getty or who knows,” Vikan said.
But then, out of the blue “someone emailed me and they said, ‘you know, I think the Christmas stamp is at the Walters.’ I said ‘No, that can’t be.’ He sent me a picture. There she was. Finally. What a treat. A total surprise,” Vikan said.
A surprise also at how many copies are available: 600 million.
Sure it’s priceless, beautiful and significant. But why did it make the cut?
“The power of that wonderfully sweet face and that energetic child just radiates,” Vikan said.
The world renowned stamp on board is available downtown to look at for free.
“Every work of art in this room belongs to the public,” Vikan said. “So I hope they feel a sense of pride that their Raphael, Baltimore’s Raphael is all over the country.”
Though first class mail is now 44 cents, this is a forever stamp that you can use for the holidays years from now.