Friday, January 11, 2008

Vatican Christmas FDC

Vatican FDC
Name: Christmas - The Nativity (Malta - Vatican Joint issue)
Date of Issue: 2007 November 20th

This set features details from one of Giuseppe Cali's paintings, The Nativity, one of the paintings found at St Andrew's parish church in Luqa.

Work on the naves in the parish church of St Andrew in Luqa village was close to completion towards the end of the year 1904. At this stage, the residents of Luqa felt that the four original paintings would now appear to be smaller in comparison to the new altars, and accordingly decided to install a new set of paintings.

The parish priest of Luqa, the Reverend Anton Vella, commissioned Giuseppe Cali (1846-1930) to work on four new paintings for the naves. The painting of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was ready and in place in 1906, and the other three paintings – Saint Dominic, Saint Michael and the Birth of Jesus (the Nativity) – were unveiled on the occasion of the feast of Saint Andrew in November of 1908. In the Chapel of the Nativity, Cali also painted two small oval works depicting Saint Francis and St Spiridione.

After the war, the painting of the Nativity (like those of St Dominic and St Michael) was enlarged by Professor Oscar Testa to be brought in line with the new frame, and the actual measurements (approximately 218 x 152 cm) are different from the original measurements. In fact, closer examination will reveal the joints in the canvas.

The painting of The Nativity, which is signed, shows the Baby Jesus in a manger, surrounded by the Madonna, Saint Joseph, two countrywomen and a young girl. In the past this painting was often referred to as the St Joseph painting. It is worth mentioning that Giuseppe Cali painted the Nativity scene in at least two other Maltese churches – on the main dome of Lija parish church (1893) and on one of the lunettes in the Mosta Rotunda.

2009 Christmas FDCs:
Estonia, Israel, Lithuania.

2008 Christmas FDCs:
Canada: The Nativity, Canada: Winter Fun, Estonia, Italy, Lithuania.

2007 Christmas FDCs:
Estonia, Finland, Hong Kong, Japan, Lithuania, Ukraine, Vatican.

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