For Christmas 1983 and also to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the birth of the Italian artist and architect Raphael (1483-1520), the postal administration of the British Crown Colony of Gibraltar issued a series in November 1983, consisting of three stamps with reproductions of paintings by Raphael.
The highest value of the series, namely the 60p, shows what is probably Raphael’s most famous work – ‘The Sistine Madonna’ – still today the epitome of the depiction of the Mother of God around the world. It is possibly the most frequently reproduced painting in the world.
The work was painted by Raphael for the church of the Benedictine monastery of San Sisto in Piacenza, northern Italy. From there it was sold to Augustus II, king of Poland and elector of Saxony, for 20,000 ducats in 1754.
The painting is still in the Dresden State Art Collection today.
And this is exactly where the error lies on the stamp: The Gibraltar postal administration took the trouble not only to name the painter and the title of the painting on the stamp, but also the museum in which the painting can be viewed. But, presumably because of an apparent lack of knowledge of the German language, the postage stamp was produced containing faulty text. Instead of ‘Staatliche Kunstsammlung Dresden’ (State Art Collection Dresden), the caption read ‘Steadliche Kunstammlungen’ (Permanent Art Collections, Dresden).
The stamp above, produced bt Belarus in 2000, shows The Partisan Madonna of Minsk – a painting by Belarusian artist Mikhail Savitsky which was completed in 1978 and preceded by similar painting, Partisan Madonna from 1967. The painting is regarded by art critics as one of the best Belarusian paintings of the 20th century. The Partisan Madonna of Minsk is housed in the Belarusian National Arts Museum in Minsk. Savitsky was inspired by Raphael’s Sistine Madonna and his artwork reflects the motherhood and hardship of Soviet Russian partisans during World War II.
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