CHRISTMAS 2011

CHRISTMAS 2011  

The image chosen to celebrate Christmas this year is taken from a painting in the Pinacoteca of the Vatican Museums. The tempera and oil painting on wood is a triptych, a work of Cretan art from the 15th century. The painting measures 23 x 34.5 cm and was kept in the Sacred Museum of the Vatican Apostolic Library until 1762. The small wooden panel belongs to a series of 30 artworks, collected by the Prefect, Francesco Vettori, given his interest in icons of the post-Byzantine period. The works were given to the Vatican Apostolic Library and are characterized with a subtle style in the depiction of figures and the use of warm, dark and dense colours. The postage stamp series consists of two values, 0.60 and 0.75, and a very unique booklet which shows the painted panel as it appears in the polyptych. At the centre is the Nativity of the Lord in a manger made of wood as a sign of the destiny of crucifixion and the culmination at the sepulchre where the Blessed Mother holds vigil. On either side are representations of Saints Benedict and Francis protecting and adoring the Christ Child.