30 May 2020
Famous Monuments of the World in Quarantine
Issued on: 2020-05-30
Format: Mini Sheet
Printing: Offset lithography
Denominations: 4 x 800 Central African francs
Although this issue was authorized by the Chad postal administration through its contract with the Stamperija agency, it was not sold in Chad, but was only distributed for distribution on the novelty market.
David is a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture created in marble between 1501 and 1504 by the Italian artist Michelangelo. David is a 5.17-metre (17.0 ft)[a] marble statue of the Biblical figure David, a favored subject in the art of Florence.
David was originally commissioned as one of a series of statues of prophets to be positioned along the roofline of the east end of Florence Cathedral, but was instead placed in a public square, outside the Palazzo Vecchio, the seat of civic government in Florence, in the Piazza della Signoria, where it was unveiled on 8 September 1504. The statue was moved to the Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence, in 1873, and later replaced at the original location by a replica.
Because of the nature of the figure it represented, the statue soon came to symbolize the defense of civil liberties embodied in the Republic of Florence, an independent city-state threatened on all sides by more powerful rival states and by the hegemony of the Medici family. The eyes of David, with a warning glare, were fixated towards Rome.
The Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World; French: La Liberté éclairant le monde) is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor within New York City, in the United States. The copper statue, a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States, was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and its metal framework was built by Gustave Eiffel. The statue was dedicated on October 28, 1886.
The statue is a figure of Libertas, a robed Roman liberty goddess. She holds a torch above her head with her right hand, and in her left hand carries a tabula ansata inscribed JULY IV MDCCLXXVI (July 4, 1776 in Roman numerals), the date of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. A broken shackle and chain lie at her feet as she walks forward, commemorating the recent national abolition of slavery. After its dedication, the statue became an icon of freedom and of the United States, seen as a symbol of welcome to immigrants arriving by sea.
Bartholdi was inspired by a French law professor and politician, Édouard René de Laboulaye, who is said to have commented in 1865 that any monument raised to U.S. independence would properly be a joint project of the French and U.S. peoples. The Franco-Prussian War delayed progress until 1875, when Laboulaye proposed that the French finance the statue and the U.S. provide the site and build the pedestal. Bartholdi completed the head and the torch-bearing arm before the statue was fully designed, and these pieces were exhibited for publicity at international expositions.
The torch-bearing arm was displayed at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876, and in Madison Square Park in Manhattan from 1876 to 1882. Fundraising proved difficult, especially for the Americans, and by 1885 work on the pedestal was threatened by lack of funds. Publisher Joseph Pulitzer, of the New York World, started a drive for donations to finish the project and attracted more than 120,000 contributors, most of whom gave less than a dollar. The statue was built in France, shipped overseas in crates, and assembled on the completed pedestal on what was then called Bedloe’s Island. The statue’s completion was marked by New York’s first ticker-tape parade and a dedication ceremony presided over by President Grover Cleveland.
The statue was administered by the United States Lighthouse Board until 1901 and then by the Department of War; since 1933 it has been maintained by the National Park Service as part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, and is a major tourist attraction. The monument was temporarily closed from March 16, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic until partially reopening on July 20, 2020. Public access to the balcony around the torch has been barred since 1916.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial is centered on a colossal sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills in Keystone, South Dakota. Sculptor Gutzon Borglum created the sculpture’s design and oversaw the project’s execution from 1927 to 1941 with the help of his son, Lincoln Borglum. The sculpture features the 60-foot (18 m) heads of Presidents George Washington (1732–1799), Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919), and Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865), as recommended by Borglum. The four presidents were chosen to represent the nation’s birth, growth, development, and preservation, respectively. The memorial park covers 1,278 acres (2.00 sq mi; 5.17 km²) and the actual mountain has an elevation of 5,725 feet (1,745 m) above sea level.
South Dakota historian Doane Robinson is credited with conceiving the idea of carving the likenesses of noted figures into the mountains of the Black Hills of South Dakota in order to promote tourism in the region. His initial idea was to sculpt the Needles; however, Gutzon Borglum rejected the Needles because of the poor quality of the granite and strong opposition from the Lakota (Sioux), who consider the Black Hills to be sacred ground; it was originally included in the Great Sioux Reservation. The United States broke up the territory after gold was discovered in the Black Hills. The mountain into which it was carved is known to the Lakota Sioux as Six Grandfathers.
The sculptor and tribal representatives settled on Mount Rushmore, which also has the advantage of facing southeast for maximum sun exposure. Robinson wanted it to feature American West heroes, such as Lewis and Clark, their expedition guide Sacagawea, Oglala Lakota chief Red Cloud, Buffalo Bill Cody, and Oglala Lakota chief Crazy Horse. Borglum believed that the sculpture should have broader appeal and chose the four presidents.
Peter Norbeck, the US Senator from South Dakota, sponsored the project and secured federal funding. Construction began in 1927, and the presidents’ faces were completed between 1934 and 1939. After Gutzon Borglum died in March 1941, his son Lincoln took over as leader of the construction project. Each president was originally to be depicted from head to waist, but lack of funding forced construction to end on October 31, 1941.
Sometimes referred to as the “Shrine of Democracy”, Mount Rushmore attracts more than two million visitors annually.
Notre-Dame de Paris, meaning “Our Lady of Paris”, is a medieval Catholic cathedral on the Île de la Cité in the 4th arrondissement of Paris. The cathedral was consecrated to the Virgin Mary and considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. Its pioneering use of the rib vault and flying buttress, its enormous and colourful rose windows, as well as the naturalism and abundance of its sculptural decoration set it apart from the earlier Romanesque style. Major components that make Notre Dame stand out include its large historic organ and its immense church bells.
The cathedral’s construction began in 1160 under Bishop Maurice de Sully and was largely complete by 1260, though it was modified frequently in the following centuries. In the 1790s, Notre-Dame suffered desecration during the French Revolution; much of its religious imagery was damaged or destroyed. In the 19th century, the cathedral was the site of the coronation of Napoleon I and the funerals of many Presidents of the French Republic.
Popular interest in the cathedral blossomed soon after the publication, in 1831, of Victor Hugo’s novel Notre-Dame de Paris (better known in English as The Hunchback of Notre-Dame). This led to a major restoration project between 1844 and 1864, supervised by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. The Allied liberation of Paris in 1944 was celebrated within Notre-Dame with the singing of the Magnificat. Beginning in 1963, the cathedral’s façade was cleaned of centuries of soot and grime. Another cleaning and restoration project was carried out between 1991 and 2000.
While undergoing renovation and restoration, the roof of Notre-Dame caught fire on the evening of 15 April 2019. Burning for around 15 hours, the cathedral sustained serious damage, including the destruction of the flèche (the timber spirelet over the crossing) and most of the lead-covered wooden roof above the stone vaulted ceiling. Contamination of the site and the nearby environment resulted. Following the fire, many proposals were made for modernizing the cathedral’s design. However, on 29 July 2019, the French National Assembly enacted a law requiring that the restoration must preserve the cathedral’s ‘historic, artistic and architectural interest’. Stabilizing the structure against possible collapse is expected to continue until the end of 2020, with reconstruction beginning in 2021. The government of France hopes the reconstruction can be completed by Spring 2024, in time for the opening of the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.
The exteriors of cathedrals and other Gothic churches were decorated with sculptures of a variety of fabulous and frightening grotesques or monsters. These included the gargoyle, the chimera, a mythical hybrid creature which usually had the body of a lion and the head of a goat, and the Strix or stryge, a creature resembling an owl or bat, which was said to eat human flesh. The strix appeared in classical Roman literature; it was described by the Roman poet Ovid, who was widely read in the Middle Ages, as a large-headed bird with transfixed eyes, rapacious beak, and greyish white wings. They were part of the visual message for the illiterate worshipers, symbols of the evil and danger that threatened those who did not follow the teachings of the church.
The gargoyles, which were added in about 1240, had a more practical purpose. They were the rain spouts of the cathedral, designed to divide the torrent of water which poured from the roof after rain, and to project it outwards as far as possible from the buttresses and the walls and windows where it might erode the mortar binding the stone. To produce many thin streams rather than a torrent of water, a large number of gargoyles were used, so they were also designed to be a decorative element of the architecture. The rainwater ran from the roof into lead gutters, then down channels on the flying buttresses, then along a channel cut in the back of the gargoyle and out of the mouth away from the cathedral.
Many of the statues, particularly the grotesques, were removed from the façade in the 17th and 18th centuries, or were destroyed during the French Revolution. They were replaced with figures in the Gothic style, designed by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, during the 19th-century restoration.
NOTE: The Central African Republic’s stamp releases are currently managed by Stamperija, a stamp issuing agency based in Vilnius, Lithuania, that controls the stamp design and production for many countries in Africa and a few other locations. Like other agencies such as the Inter-Governmental Postal Corporation (IGPC), Stamperija issues a great quantity of stamps bearing the names of their “clients” (countries and territories) many of which depict themes of little to no relevance to those locations. Many of the stamp issues tend to be high denominations that never are used in the entities whose names are printed on the stamps.
As a result, many traditional philatelists do not care for these stamps. I believe there are collectors out there who do collect some of these items although the sheer numbers released are overwhelming to say the least. I will include these issues on Philatelic Pursuits for the sake of completeness but will pick-and-choose from topicals that interest me first before I strive for completion.