Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Raphael - Madonna and the Goldfinch

Raphael (1483-1520) - Madonna and the Goldfinch (1505)
Italy 50 lira Stamp issued 1970
Painting held in the Uffizi Gallery Florence
This painting was depicted on stamps to commemorate the 450th Anniversary of the death of Raphael.  The painting was originally given to someone as a wedding gift, before being damaged into 19 different parts during an earthquake in 1546.  It is typical of Raphael's style, with perfect geometric framing of the three figures - Mary, St John the Baptist and the little baby Jesus.  The was meticulously restored recently, only returning to the Uffizi Gallery in 2008.

Other works by Raphael:

The Madonna and the Goldfinch has also been depicted on a stamp by the USA, but the painting was completed by Giovanni Baptista Tiepolo.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Giotto - the Ognissanti Madonna

Giotto (1266-1337) - the Ognissanti Madonna (1310)
Italy 40 lira Stamp issued 1966
Uffuzi Galley - Florence
This painting was commissioned by an obscure religious order when Giotto returned to Florence in the period around 1310.  Ognissanti refers to the church where the painting was originally housed, being the All Saints Church in Florence.  The painting is now housed in the Uffuzi Gallery in Florence.

Giotto is credited as being the first in a line of artists who kicked off the Italian Renaissance at the end of the middle ages.  Other stamps have works that are from Giotto:

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Pablo Picasso - Mother and Sick Child

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) - Mother and Sick Child (1903)
Maldives Stamp Issued 1974
Painting held at the Barcelona Museum, Spain
This is one of Picasso's earlier works, well before he started to mix up peoples faces.  The Maldives is a beautiful group of tropical islands that are stretched intermittently across the Indian Ocean to the south of India.  As the highest point of the Maldives is only 2 metres above sea level, it is one of the most threatened countries if sea levels do rise.  They also issue stamps on many topics that have no relation to the Maldives as a way of raising revenue for the country. 

Other works by Picasso have been used on stamps, including:

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Raphael - Triumph of Galatea

Raphael (1483-1520) - Voyage of Galatea (1511)
Italy 25 lira stamp issued 1970
Fresco Held at the Villa Farnesina Rome Italy
Raphael was commissioned to do this secular artistic piece at the home of a rich trading family in Italy.  Galatea is the ideal female form in the centre of the picture, being dragged through the water on a shell chariot that is being carried by two happy dolphins.  Fearsome tritons are seen dragging nymphs into the sea and sounding trumpets. 

Raphael is famous for mastering the art of placing bodies harmoniously in beautiful pieces of art.  He lived a short life, but gained great fame.

Raphael's art has also been used on other stamps:

Friday, July 1, 2011

Michelangelo - The Delphic Sibyl from the Sistine Chapel

Michelangelo (1475-1564) - the Delphic Sibyl from the Sistine Chapel (1512)
Grenada 1c Stamp Issued 1975
Painting in the Sistine Chapel, Vatican City
In 1975, Grenada issued a series of stamps to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the birth of Michelangelo.  This is one of the most famous images from the Sistine Chapel, being the Delphic Sybil.  Sybils are part of Greek mythology, who were prophets in many locations in legendary tales.

It is said that Michelangelo did not enjoy the commission that was given to him - to paint the huge ceiling of the Sistine Chapel took 5 years.  However, this work is his most monumental and well regarded feat that gained him fame.