500th Anniversary of the Death of Raphael
Italian painter and architect Raphael lived from 1483 to 1520 and is considered to be one of the most important artists of the Italian High Renaissance. In addition to his career as a painter in Florence and at the papal court in Rome, he also became site manager of St. Peter's Basilica and supervisor of Roman antiquities. During his lifetime he enjoyed the privilege of being known only by his first name and even today few people know his full name: Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino. The souvenir sheet published to mark the 500th anniversary of his death features one of his famous works as well as a "Self-portrait" (face value: CHF 6.30) of the artist.
Raphael painted the fresco "The School of Athens" for Pope Julius II between 1510 and 1511 in the "Stanza della Segnatura" of the Vatican, the original room where documents were signed within the Papal apartments. The painting, which is about 7.7 metres wide, shows a monumental interior in which a gathering of eminent scientists and philosophers from the Antiquity to the Renaissance is taking place. The title of the painting refers to the outstanding philosophical school of thought of ancient Greece. In the spirit of the Renaissance, the fresco celebrates ancient thought as the origin of European culture, its philosophy and sciences.
Village Views: Balzers
The series with village views of all of the municipalities of the Liechtenstein Oberland continues in this issue by taking us to Balzers. The southernmost municipality of the Principality has around 4,700 inhabitants and covers an area of almost 20 square kilometres. The stamps printed on sheets of 12 show black-and-white photographs of buildings with landscape scenery in the background in different shades of colour.
Today's "Mill" (face value: CHF 1.00) in Balzers was built in 1837 as an extension of an already existing mill. It was the first property to be supplied with self-generated electricity in 1918. The building was placed under protection by the Princely Government in 1992 and renovated in the following two years. The mill has been operating again since 1994 and today focuses on organic production.
Originally a hamlet, "Mäls" (face value: CHF 1.80) belongs to the municipality of Balzers and is today a village district, which has grown together with the village district of Balzers since the early 20th century. The first traces of settlement in the Mälsner area date from the third century AD. The area around the medieval residential tower and St. Peter's Chapel, which are the focus of the second special stamp, is probably the oldest part of the village.
With the "Globe" (face value: CHF 6.30), a stamp embroidered from recycled PET thread, Philately Liechtenstein would like to draw attention to the topic of environmental protection and especially to the recovery of recyclable materials from waste. The stamp was produced by embroidery manufacturer Hämmerle & Vogel in Lustenau, Austria. For this purpose, 3,100 PET bottles with a volume of 600 ml each were processed to make cleaned flakes before producing a new high-quality polyester yarn from them. Seventy-five metres of thread were processed for each stamp. With an issue of 40,000 stamps, this means that three million metres of recycled polyester thread were used. This length is sufficient to surround the external border of the Principality of Liechtenstein forty times. A comparison of the amount of work involved is equally impressive: While the embroidery machine with over one million revolutions produced the issue in the shortest possible time, a single hand embroiderer would take about 25 years to produce all the stamps.
The new, five-centimetre self-adhesive stamp in the shape of a globe is not only intended as a collector's item or for franking a postal item, it can also decorate your own clothes or other accessories to show your personal commitment to environmental protection and sustainability.
Princely Treasures – Hunting Scenes of Rubens
The multipart series with motifs from the collections of the Prince of Liechtenstein is continued with two paintings by Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640). The artist of Flemish origin was one of the most famous Baroque painters and diplomats of the Spanish-Habsburg crown. His works are characterised by light and colour.
"The Hunt of the Meleager and the Atalante" (face value: CHF 2.20) shows how Greece's bravest warriors gather to fight an angry wild boar. The beast was sent to King Oineus of Calydonia by Diana, the hunting goddess, in revenge for the failure to pay her tribute during the harvest festival. Atalante, a virgin raised among hunters, rushes to the aid of the beset spear throwers Telamon and Peleus and hits the boar with her arrow behind the ear. While the wounded animal writhes in pain, Meleager runs from the right and strikes a fatal blow.
It is assumed that the oil sketch "The Hunt of Diana" (face value: CHF 1.50) is a counterpart to the painting mentioned above. In this picture, Diana and her hunters rush forwards to a stag which, surrounded by the hounds and hit by a spear, falls to the ground while a hind tries to escape in the background.