CHRISTMAS 2015 (Booklets)


The image selected by the Philatelic and Numismatic Office for this year’s celebration of Christmas features a miniature from the Codices Urbinates Latini 239 (1477-1478) from the Vatican Library. The Christmas scene was painted by an unknown artist who pays tribute to the quiet efforts of so many manuscript illuminators who, with their own work, also transmitted culture and the Gospel message throughout the centuries. The series of postage stamps consists of two values in sheets of ten stamps. The 0.80 cent value features the full view of the miniature of the page in the aforementioned codex: classical iconography of the Holy Family with the ox and donkey in the background. The structure of the stable reflects the historical period of the engraving rather than one from the time of the birth of Christ. Hovering over the scene is a host of angels holding hands, in the background a panorama most likely also inspired by the visual context of the author with the hilly rural countryside of that period in Italy. Further accenting the fine manuscript work, the 0.95 cent value shows more closely the central part of this nativity scene. The Christmas postage stamp issue also includes a philatelic booklet of four values. On the outside, the booklet features the angels mentioned above in a star-filled context created by the graphic department of the Office. In addition to the 0.95 cent values, the internal pages show parts of the text of the Codex page below the miniature, with a depiction of Saint John the Evangelist.