Arago: 1992-2005 Commemoratives

1992-2005 Commemoratives

500 lire "God" single

Scott Catalogue Vatican City: 947

On April 9, 1994, Vatican City issued a series of stamps celebrating the Sistine Chapel's restoration. It consists of four diptychs (eight stamps).

Each diptych consists of two stamps with identical values, which together reproduce one of the four major scenes painted by Michelangelo Buonarroti on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The 500-lire value depicts "The Creation of Man."

The restoration of the Sistine Chapel began in 1964 and progressed in phases: cleaning of the fifteenth-century paintings of the popes and of the lunettes (1980-84), of the ceiling (1984-90), and "The Last Judgment," painted by Michelangelo on the altar wall between 1535 and 1541, during the pontificate of Paul III.

The conservators began work on the "The Last Judgment" in 1990 and completed it in March of 1994. The frescoed surface was cleaned to a degree that brought forth all the chromatic passages created by Michelangelo while preserving that imperceptible veil of dirt that has appeared on the fresco's surface since its early years.

During the restoration, it became apparent that Michelangelo had adopted a technique for "The Last Supper" that differed from that used on the ceiling, mostly due to the use of lapis lazuli for the azure of the sky, the presence of some dry frescoed parts, and the use of colors such as "lacca" and "giallolino," which need a blending agent.

The stamps measure 36 x 36 mm and were issued in sheets of ten diptychs. At the top of each stamp appears the inscription CAPPELLA SISTINA, and at the bottom appear the Tiara and Crossed Keys, the words CITTA DEL VATICANO, and the value.

Crimando, Thomas I. "New Issues." Vatican Notes 42, no. 6 (May 1994): 6.

April 8, 1994
paper; ink
Museum ID:
VATICAN CITY (independent city state)
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