Monday, June 28, 2010

Nikolai Yaroshenko - Kursistka

Nikolai Yaroshenko (1846-1898) - Kursistka (1863)
Russian USSR Stamp Issued 1971
Russian Museum in Kiev.

Yaroshenko was an artist who depicted he realism of life in the late 19th century in Russia. His paintings were often depressing in nature, with torture, struggles, gothic fashion and hardships being common in Russia at the time.  The artist also managed to maintain a very good career in the army, as he achieved the rank of Major General by the time he retired in the 1890s.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Paul von Szinyei-Merse - The Lady in a Purple Dress

Paul von Szinyei-Merse (1845-1920) - The Lady in a purple dress (1874)
Hungarian Stamp Issued 1966 Magyar Posta

This artist is said to have been responsible for some of the earliest examples of impressionism art in Central Europe.   Lady in a Purple Dress is typical of his work, which generally depicted the lives of the upper classes in Hungarian 19th Century Society - much like many of his contemporaries at the time. 

This is one of this painter's last paintings before he embarked upon a major gap in his life, where he did not complete any works from 1874-1898.  After this gap in his career, he entered a second stage in his life, where his work was widely regarded.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Benczur Gyula - Laszlo's Farewell

Benczúr Gyula (1844-1920) - Laszlo's Farewell  (1866)  - 
Magyar Posta (Hungary) Stamp issued 1966 
Painting held at the National Gallery of Hungary - Budapest

This stamp probably depicts a farewell by Laszlo Hunyadi, who was a Hungarian statesman in the 15th century, who was beheaded at the young age of 24 years old.  He lived through tumultuous times as the son of the leaders in Hungarian Transylvania during this time.

The artist was known for his art that conveyed historical events, and this stamp shows one of these paintings.  The painter obtained reasonable success during his lifetime, as he won a number of awards and had reasonable international success.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Mihaly Munkacsy - Yawning Apprentice (Asito inas)

Mihaly Munkacsy (1844-1900)  - Yawning Apprentice (Asito inas) 1869
Hungarian Stamp Issued 1966

Although this is not an impressionist piece of work, at first viewing this does appear to be quite unsettling, in the style of Edvard Munch's "The Scream" which was completed in 1893, well after this work by Munkacsy.  This painting is typical of this artist's work, as he revelled in depicting scenes of people from an everyday perspective.  If a model was used for this painting, they would probably have a very sore neck and mouth at the end of the sitting.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Barabás Miklós - Girl in the Woods

Barabas Miklos (1810-1898)  - Girl in the Woods
Hungarian Stamp issued 1966
Magyar Posta
This is another Hungarian Stamp from 1966, being part of a series of stamps from the 19th Century.  Other Barabas Miklos paintings were also depicted in these stamps - this is typical of his work, depicting romanticised scenes of beauties in the wild forests - perhaps a pre-cursor to are that would follow in the latter years of the 19th century and early 20th century - depicting an unrealistic harmony with nature.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mihaly Munkacsy - Woman Carrying Faggots (Rozsehordo no)

Mihaly Munkacsy (1844-1900)  - Woman Carrying Faggots (Rozsehordo no) (1873)
Hungarian Stamp Issued 1966
Held at the Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest

Unlike some of his contemporaries, Munkacsy depicted the ordinary lives of everyday people in his genre pictures, in addition to completing works of a religious nature.  Shortly after completing this painting of a woman carry brushwood through the forest, he went on to complete a number of landscape works, although the genre paintings remain as his most famous works.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Miklos Barabas (1810-1898) - Portrait of Mrs. István Bittó (1874)

Miklos Barabas  (1810-1898) - Portrait of Mrs. István Bittó (1874)
Hungarian Stamp Issued in 1966
Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest

Barabas was mostly known for his portraits that were made of wealthy individuals within Hungarian society at the time of this painting.  This is a portrait of the wife of the Hungarian Prime Minister from 1874-1875.  The painter was also a member of the Hungarian Parliament in 1867.  

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Tatyana Yablonskaya - Sacking Grain

Tatyana Yablonskaya (1917-2006) - Sacking Grain (1949)
Russia Stamp Issued 1967
Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

This painting screams joy - telling us about the pleasant existence that communist people must have wanted to experience under the idealogies of the communist in the Soviet Union.  The nature of these scenes are similar to those depicted in Chinese propaganda scenes of the same era - farm people having a wonderful time, frollicking around in the wonderful sunshine while also attaining new levels of productivity, where there would be lots of food for everyone....  

Friday, June 18, 2010

Benczúr Julius - Reading women in the woods

Benczúr Julius (1844-1920) - Reading women in the woods (1875)
Hungarian Stamp Issued in 1966

Benczur was a Hungarian born painter who gained some international recognition during his career which included a large amount of time in Munich, Germany undertaking a professorship.  He mainly did paintings of the upper classes and aristocrats when he returned to Hungary and his name is now carried by a street in Budapest.

This painting is rather idyllic and stylised for the time - an upper class 19th century lady manages to peacefully read a book in the woods in the summertime, without being attacked by flies and insects.  The stamp is a poor reproduction of the original painting, which can be found here.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin - Still Life with Attributes of the Arts

Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin  (1699-1779)  - Still Life with Attributes of the Arts (1766)
Russia Stamp issued 1973
Held at the Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

This modest still life makes for a rather ordinary stamp.  Issued by Russia in 1973, this is another work by Chardin, who was a great French Rococo era painter.  His works are held in galleries all over the work, including the Louvre inParis and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.  

Other Russian stamps have also been issued with Chardin's work: Saying Grace - Chardin.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Brulloff Karl - Midday

 Карл Павлович Брюллов  Karl Briullov (1799-1852) - Midday (1831)
Russia Stamp Issued 1973
The Russian Museum, St Petersburg

This Russian painter of French descent was highly successful and popular in his day, with his work being quite significant as is documents the transition from neoclassicism to romanticism in Russian painting.  

Briullov also gained success in Italy, particularly when he began doing historical works, such as the Last Days of Pompeii.  

Monday, June 14, 2010

Vasily Surikov - The Boyarynia Morozova

 Васи́лий Ива́нович Су́риков Vasily Srikov (1848-1916) - Boyarynia Morozova (1887)
Russia Stamp issued 1967
Tretyakov Gallery

This is a historical painting which depicts a "boyarynia", or woman of high nobility, being dragged through the narrow streets of Moscow, after having started a rebellion against the ruling czars of Russia in 1671.  This is a typical work for this artist who is best known as a historical painter.  The painting is large and it carries a high level of detail for this tragic character of Russian history.  To this day, Morozova is hailed as a martyr by some communities in Russia.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Ilya Repin - Arrest of a Progandist

Arrest of the Propagandist 1889 - Ilya Repin (1844-1930)
Russia Stamp Issued 1967
Tretyakov Gallery Moscow Russia

Repin was a leading Russian painter and sculptor of the Peredvizhniki artistic school.  This artist's works were ground breaking as they were a predecessor to the large number of Socialist Realism works that became popular and acceptable in the Soviet Union and Russia in the 20th Century.  The artist had a versatile career with many works having religious or mythical themes, while other works included portraits or depictions of historical events.

This painting depicts the mood of the time.  It was completed shortly after the death of Tsar Alexander II who brought about some reforms for the release of serfs in Russia, although his overall record was also one of suppression in order to prevent more radical social change.  The Tsar survived several assassination attempts before finally being killed by terrorists in a bomb in 1882.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Alexey Savrasov - Rainbow

Alexey Savrasov (1830-1897) Алексе́й Кондра́тьевич Савра́сов -  Rainbow (1875) 
Russia Stamp issued in 1980
 The Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.

This is the second landscape painting that has been depicted in a Russian stamp for the artist Savrasov.  The painter was the son of a merchant - he schooled in Moscow and traveled extensively around Europe during his career.  The artist's daughter died in the 1870s and the artist eventually lost his way, becoming an alcoholic and dying as a pauper many years later.  However, much of his work is in the Tretyakov Gallery.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Alexey Savrasov - Country Road

Alexey Savrasov (1830-1897) - Country Road (1873). 
Russia 16K Stamp Issued 1971
Oil on canvas. The Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia.

This artist was most famous for his landscapes, having been influenced by John Constable when he traveled to Britain.  Although this stamp reproduction is quite poor, the majority ofhis works were very intricate and detailed. 

Other works by Savrasov have been depicted in Russian stamps.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Boris Ioganson - Interrogation of the Communists

Boris Ioganson (1893-1973)  - Interrogation of the Communists (1933) 
Russia Stamp Issued 1967
Tretyakov Gallery Moscow

This is another example of socialism realism art being depicted in stamps by the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War in the 1960s.   The interrogated figures are calm and in control.  

The artist retained positions of power in the art world during his career, becoming the head of the Tretyakov Gallery in 1954, while eventually becoming the President of the USSR Academy of Arts from 1961 to 1964.  Socialist realism art obviously paid off during the Cold war.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Malayan Porcupine - From the Farquhar Collection

Malayan Porcupine - From the Farquhar Collection
Singapore Stamp issued 2002

Here's another intricate sketch of local wildlife that was commissioned by Farquhar during his stay in Singapore and the Malay peninsula during his career as a British commissioner in the early 1800s.

The Malayan Porcupine is still common as it has a wide distribution across South Asia, South East Asia and also into parts of China.  This little fellow has a wide diet, as it is an omnivore, eating tubes, roots and leaves, in addition to feasting on dead carcasses and insects.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Eugene Lansere - Building the Metro

Eugene Lansere (1875-1946)  - Building the Metro (1935) 
(now a mosiac in Metro station in Moscow, Komsomolskaya 1935)
Russia Stamp issued in 1975

This Russian painting is quite unusual in that the art work adorns the wall of a subway station in Moscow's Metro subway system in the form of a mosiac tile display.  The Moscow Metro is incredibly ornate as it was designed to last for a long time - the leaders of Moscow must have decided to spend up big on this once in a lifetime construction project.

According to Wikipedia, the Moscow Metro is the busiest subway system in the world, except for Tokyo.  The painting in this stamp is typical of much of the socialist realism art that exists on many stations throughout the system.   It also dates back almost as far as the London Underground, as the Moscow Metro began operation in 1935.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Farquhar Collection - Asian Small Clawed Otter

Asian Small Clawed Otter - Sketch and Painting from the Farquhar Collection (circa 1823)
Singapore Stamp Issued 2002

It's no wonder that the paintings commissioned by Farquhar during his time as an official in Singapore and modern day Malaysia were focussed on the diversity of plant and animal life in the region.  This part of Asia was one of mega-diversity, with extensive rainforests across the equator.

This species is now classified as vulnerable, due to widespread habitat loss, hunting and pollution - a sad fact of life for any animals that battle for survival in this part of the world that has developed rapidly.  

Friday, June 4, 2010

Jean Baptiste Simeon Chardin - Saying Grace

Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin (1699-1779) - Saying Grace. (1740). 
Russia Stamp Issued 1974
Louvre, Paris, France.

Chardin was considered to be a master of still life.  He depicted subjects in everyday life and modest means, while also bringing out amazingly light coloured details against dark backgrounds.  His figures were powerful, yet quite anonymous - it was rare for everyday characters of French life to be depicted in paintings at this time.

Chardin was popular during his time, eventually earning a state pension - however his personal life was marred by sadness with the death of his first wife and daughter in the 1740s, shortly after this painting was completed.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Alexey Gavrilovich Venetsianov - Oh, Father's Dinner

Alexey Gavrilovich Venetsianov (1780-1847) - Oh, Father's Dinner  (1825) - 
Russia Stamp issued 1973

Tretyakov Gallery Moscow

Born of Greek parents in Moscow, Venetsianov had a passion for art from a young age, although he was a public servant at the commencement of his working life.

His artwork was reknown for dpictions of peasant life in Russia in the early 19th Century. He maintained a group of friends who were also talented artists from modest backgrounds - none of them initially attained power in the art world, due to their lack of formal art training, but Venesianov was appointed as a court painter by Nicholas I at the latter stages of his life.

The artist reportedly died when he was aboard a horse driven carriage that fell down a steep slope.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Farquhar Collection - Pale Giant Squirrel

Tupal Kerawak - From the Farquhar Collection
Singapore Stamp Issued 2002

This the the second of a series of watercolours from the Farquhar Collection that were made as stamps in Singapore in 2002.  The pale giant squirrel was native to Singapore, although it is now extinct.  Farquhar worked for the East India Company in Malacca, but he constantly pursued an interest in natural history during his time in the South East Asian region.  When he moved from Singapore to Malacca, he also took a large personal collection of animals with him, including wild cats, a cassowary, procupine, numerous monkeys and a tiger.  

This painting is typical of those commissioned in the Farquhar collection - it was probably completed by Chinese painters who were brilliant at providing a magnificent level of detail for these drawings that had a very scientific focus.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Ivan Aivazovsky - Seashore

(Иван Константинович Айвазовский)  Ivan Aivazovsky (1819-1900) - Seashore. 1840. Oil on canvas. 
Russia Stamp Issued 1967
Held at The Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia

Aivazovsky's work has an uncanny similarity to some of the works of Turner in Britain, as both were very comfortable with dramatic and realistic seascapes with tall ships in moody weather.  This artist spent a great deal of time in Constantinople with many of his works now exhibited in Turkey, the Ukraine and Russia.  He was born of Armenian parent and worked for much of his time in coastal Crimea.  He was also commissioned as an artist for the Russian Navy.