On January 26, 1788, a fleet of British ships headed by Arthur Phillip landed ashore at Port Jackson in New South Wales becoming what now known as Australia. Australia Day has been named as “Anniversary Day”, “Foundation Day” and “ANA Day” – a day celebrated as a public holiday marked by festivities, concerts and swearing in of new Australian citizens.
Sir Anthony Van Dyck (1599-1641), already a celebrated artist at age of 18, was one of Ruben’s chief collaborators. He became Court Painter of King Charles of England and produced a vast number of distinctive portraits. But his “Madonna” rendition shown in this Australian 1978 Christmas stamp was his most elegant work. He portrays the Virgin Mother with an aristocratic, dignified air despite poverty of her surroundings with his naturalistic style.