Friday, May 27, 2011

Gerard Ter Borch - Glass of Lemonade

Gerard ter Borch - A Glass of Lemonade (1655-1660)
Russia 10k stamp issued in 1974
Painting held at the Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

Gerard ter Borch was a Dutch genre painter who was also known for his portraits.  The subjects were always depicted with very expressive looks and fine clothing, so this painting is typical of his work. He also pioneered a style of painting for that time, as many of his characters were depicted standing up, with a portrait format, rather than landscape. He lived a relatively privileged life compared to most other others, travelling throughout most of Europe while also having a good education courtesy of his father who was also an artist. 

His works are relatively rare - six works are held at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pavel Fedatov - Difficult Bride

P. A. Fedatov - Difficult Bride (1847) ( трудно невесты)
Russia USSR 4k Stamp issued 1976
Painting Held at the Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
Fedatov (1815-1852) had an interesting but relatively short life, as he was originally trained in the army before quitting in 1844 and pursuing a relatively short career as an artist.  Russian art was flourishing at the time of this painting under Tsar Nicholas I.  However, towards the end of his career, the artist was a target of persecution of the government, as the Tsar tightened his grip on the people of Russia following revolutions throughout most of Europe in 1848.  He eventually died in a mental clinic in 1852.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Raphael - The Large Cowper Madonna (1508)

Raphael - The Large Cowper Madonna
USA 20c Stamp issued 1983
Painting held at the National Gallery of Art Washington
Raphael lived a relatively short life of only 37 years but he now upholds a reputation as one of the great High Renaissance painters, being active at the time of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Titian.  Indeed, this painting contains hints of da Vinci's style, as the figures are large, fulsome and closely framed - although it is difficult to determine from this particular stamp.  The painting conveys the close relationship between mother and child - the child is in a playful mood, looking out to the audience.  

This stamp was issued on  the 400th anniversary of Raphael's birth for Christmas 1983.  Raphael's paintings have been depicted on a large number of stamps over the years including others on this blog:
Self Portrait - Issued in San Marino
The Virgin and Child with John the Baptist in a Landscape - Issued in France

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo - Madonna and the Goldfinch

Giovanni Tiepolo - Madonna and the Goldfinch (1760)
USA 20c Stamp issued 1982
Held at the National Gallery of Art Washington
Tiepolo is a highly regarded 18th century artist who is primarily known for his huge fresco works that were epic and grand - these were completed in the 1750s and are located through many churches and estates in Venice and surrounding regions.  He also worked as far afield as Madrid.

This painting depicts a very pale Madonna and child with fat rosy cheeks.  The goldfinch is meant to symbolise the eventual violent death of the child many years later - interestingly, another painting was completed by Raphael in the early 1500s with the same name and subject, so Tiepolo was covering familiar religious themes with this work.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Filippo Lippi - Madonna and Child

Filippo Lippi - Madonna and Child (c1440)
USA 20c Stamp issued 1984
National Gallery of Art - Samuel H Kress Collectio
Lippi was probably the best Florentine master of the mid 1400s, as his paintings were known for their tenderness and joyfulness.  This painting of the Madonna and child is intimate and close up to the viewer  - the eventual sacrificial nature of the child's life is symbolically predicted through the placement of his mother's hand directly across the child's throat.

Apparently, Lippi caused a bit of scandal and controversy during his time as a painter during this highly religious era.  He obtained permission from Pope Pius II to live with a woman who was a nun - she was used a a model in a number of depictions of the Madonna.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Celia Rosser - Golden Wattle

Celia Rosser - Golden Wattle (1989)
Australia 41c Stamp issued 1990
The golden wattle is a common sight throughout many regions of Australia, particularly when it is flowering along the roadsides and railways of New South Wales and Victoria.  Although wattles are also found in Africa and parts of North America, in 1891 there was a push to adopt a flower as a national emblem, even before Australia became a federation in 1901.  In 1988 Acacia pyncantha was finally adopted as the national flower.

Celia Rosser is a well known botanical artist, particularly known for her studies of banksias.  She has a gallery in Victoria. This stamp is one of many botanical illustrations that are traditionally depicted on Australian stamps, given the uniqueness of Australian flora.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Jules Bastien-Lepage - Rural Love

Jules Bastien-Lepage (1848-1884)  - Rural Love (1882)
16K Russian Stamp issued 1973

Held at the Pushkin Museum Moscow
Bastien-Lepage is best known for his beautifully detailed naturalist paintings that depicted rural scenes in France in the 19th Century.  His works lean towards impressionism, while also maintaining focus on realistic scenes with good framing and composition.  The artist's most famous work is Joan of Arc, with it's spooky setting of translucent saints hiding in the depths of a French garden.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pyotr Konchalovsky - A Green Wine Glass

Pyotr Konchalovsky - A Green Wine Glass
2K Russia USSR Stamp Issued 1978
Russian Museum, Moscow
This is the second stamp that was issued to commemorate the centennial of the birth of Konchalovsky by the Russian postal authority in 1976.   Unfortunately, the stamps do not contribute to the high quality and breadth of the artist's work.  Konchalovsky was highly regarded and prolific in the Soviet machinery throughout the 1920s and 1930s, completing many landscapes and over 100 portraits of influential Russians.  This is one of five still life works that were produced in 1933.

A major retrospective of the Konchalovsky's work was held at the Russian Museum from March to July 2010.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Pyotr Konchalovsky - Returning from the Fair

Petr Konchalovsky (1876-1956) - Returning from the Fair (1926)
1k USSR Russia Stamp Issued 1976
State Russian Museum St Petersburg 
Petr Konchalovsky Пётр Петро́вич Кончало́вский) completed this work in the middle of his career, and it is often thought to be one his best works,  The artist was influenced by Cezanne, and he produced many avant garde works before progressing on to produce many works of socialist realism, which was more common during the late 20s and early 30s as socilaism took hold with the rise of Stalin.

He completed this wiork when he was living in Novgorod in the USSR, but he also spent a lot of time living in Paris and elsewhere in Europe.  The Petr Konchalovsky Foundation has a website dedicated to him.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Willem Claesz Heda - Breakfast Table with a Ham

Willem Claesz. Heda (1594-1680): Breakfast table with a ham, 1648.
East Germany 35DDR Stamp issued 1982
Staatliches Museum
Heda produced a large number of still life paintings during his long career as a painter from the Haarlem school of Dutch painters.  Opulent foods were depicted in these paintings, along with expensive silverware, wine glasses and time pieces, which were symbols of the briefness of life for individuals.  

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Viktor Antonov - Along the Road

Viktor Antonov - Along the Road (1936)
Russia 6k Stamp issued 1977
This stamp depicts a small painting in the Fedoskino style of Russian folk art.  Fedoskino folk art derives its name from a small town outside Moscow, and was apparently first developed in the late 18th Century.    These lacquer paintings are multi-layered on very small, convex surfaces.  They were originally popular for snuff boxes.  This is one of a series of paintings that were depicted in this 1997 issue in the USSR.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Pine Forest in Viatka - Ivan Shishkin

Иван Шишкин. Сосновый бор. Мачтовый лес в Вятской губернииIvan Shishkin - Pine Forest in Viatka  Province (1872).
Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
Ivan Shishkin (1832-1898) composed a prolific number of oil on canvas paintings that depicted realistic impressions of forest scenes in Russia and parts of Europe, including Germany.  His paintings were all very natural and very similar, typically being composed with very large trees in natural groves, with very little human activity, if at all.   This painting depicts a scene from Viatka, which is now modern day Tatarstan in south western Russia. 

Olga's Gallery has a fantastic selection of Shishkin's work, that clearly shows his interest in trees and nature in fine detail.

Cecil Beaton - Queen Elizabeth II

Cecil Beaton (1904-1980) - The Queen at Buckingham Palace (1953) 
Australia $2.45 Stamp Issued 2006
Held by the V&A Museum London

This photograph was taken at the time of the Annigoni portrait of the queen in 1956, by one of Britain's most famous photographes in the 20th century.  The image was used for the 2006 Queens Birthday stamp issue in 2006 to celebrate her 80th Birthday.  The queen is wearing the Order of the Garter.

Friday, May 6, 2011

George Nissky - Moscow Suburb in February

George Nissky - Moscow Suburb FebruaryПодмосковье февраля
USSR Russia Stamp Issued 1967
This painting from 1957 captures a stereotypical scene from a sleepy suburb in the middle of winter, where this is very minimal human movement and cool northern light.  This is typical of George Nisskiy's work - you can imagine these scenes on the front of boring greeting cards.  The painting is now held at the collection for the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, and it is one of many stamps that depicted art scenes from famous Russian collections.

Naata Nungurrayi - Untitled

Naata Nungurrayi (1932 - )
Australia $1.65 stamp issued 2003

This artist lives in an incredibly remote area of Australia, being the Pollock Hills in Western Australia.  She did not begin painting until 1996, but Nungurrayi's works are highly sought after.  This is one of many stamps that have been issued depicting indigenous art in Australia.  

This stamp is an "International Post" stamp that can be used for postage of items to overseas only - as GST is not charged on overseas despatches, but GST is charged on local postage within Australia, different stamps now need to be used for local vs overseas items.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Pietro Annigoni - Queen Elizabeth II (1956)

Pietro Annigoni (1910-1988) - Portrait Queen Elizabeth II (1956)
Australia 50c Stamp Issued 2006

Australia still continues to issue stamps to commemorate the Queen's Birthday each year, in addition to observing a long weekend to mark the occasion.  Strangely enough, this is done in June, even though it is not the Queens Birthday - any excuse for a public holiday!!

Annigoni's painting of the queen was depicting in the 2006 Queen's Birthday issue, marking the 50th Anniversary of the completion of this regal portrait.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Giovanni Toscani - Adoration of the Magi - Part 3 Detail
Australia 45c Stamp Issued 1994
Painting Held at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

This is one of many works of Toscani that were produced on wooden panels in the "cassone" style.  The panels were originally decorated to be included in wooden chests or boes for newly married couples.  

Three stamps were sourced from detailed reliefs of Tosacani's painting which is held at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Toscani - Adoration of the Magi - Part 2

Giovanni Toscani - Adoration of the Magi
Australia $1 Stamp Issued 1994 Christmas
Painting Held at the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia

This stamp is one of three stamps that was produced from the "Adoration of the Magi" painting that is held at the National Gallery of Victoria.  Another stamp has been previously posted as part of this series on this blog.

This painting was produced sometime between 1420 and 1430.  The painting is one of many artworks that have been purchased through the Felton Request, which was established in 1904 when Alfred Felton died, leaving a fortune of 190,000 pounds.  Felton stipulated that half of the interest earned on the bequest would be used to purchase artworks for the NGV - the gallery has managed to purchase numerous works that are valued over a billion dollars now, as many purchases were made prior to the large increase in art work prices in the 1950s.   

Monday, May 2, 2011

Prospero Fantana - Holy Family with St Jerome
Prospero Fontana - Holy Family with St Jerome, a female martyr and the infant St John the Baptist (1552)
Australia 28c Stamp issued 1980
Held in the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia

This impressive painting is thought to have been completed by Fontana while employed by Pope Julius III in the 1550s.  The artist had a long career in his native Bologna, Genoa, Florence and Rome.  The painting's figures are closely embraced to each other and interacting in a very personal manner.

St Jerome is also depicted in this painting, probably because he was responsible for the establishment of a hospice in Bethlehem in the 4th Century, in order to welcome pilgrams to the holy land.  He got up to quite a bit during his life, being fully devoted to the church.  He is also known for translating the bible into Latin.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Justin O'Brien - Virgin Enthroned

Justin O'Brien (1917-1996) - Virgin Enthroned (1951)
Australia 15c Stamp issued 1980
Painting Held at the Art Gallery of NSW

Justin O'Brien was born in south western Sydney in an Irish Catholic family, thus explaining the religious nature of art that was depicted in this stamp for Christmas 1980.  His art was the subject of a retrospective exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW in 2011.  The artist was a prolific producer of art during his career, in addition to spending time as a teacher in Sydney prior to heading off to Rome in the latter period of his life.