Rafael the Italian painter through philately


Pic: 1: Federico da Montefeltro di Urbino

Raffaello Sanzio, or simply Raphael, was an Italian painter who was born in Urbino of the Montefeltro in 1483 (Picture 1), an important cultural center at the time.

Raphael, along with Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, are regarded as the Great Masters of the later Renaissance, who have exerted a lasting influence on Western art. His father, also a painter, sent his son to be apprenticed to Perugino (Picture 2) where he quickly rose to teacher status himself.



Pic: 2: Leonardo da Vinci                                                 Michelangelo                                                Perugino


Pic. 3: Kolona’s Retample

One of his first surviving works is the Retample of Colona (Picture 3), an altar painting of 1502, situated in the New York Metropolitan Museum. This is a grand masterpiece with rich decor. The main piece is made of tempera wood and it measures 1.70 x 1.70 meters.

On the block of Turks and Caicos, we can see the Gavari Crucifixion also

Pic. 6: Mond or Gavari Crucifixion

Pic. 4: Mond or Gavari Crucifixion

known as the Crucifixion of Mond (Picture 4). Measuring 2.80 x 1.65 meters this is a 1503 work and is displayed in the London National Gallery. The painting is done in oil where the artist has started to establish his own style.

In 1503, having been influenced not only by Perugino but also by his own innovations, the young Raphael adroitly painted the Maria Conestabile (Picture 5). This is a small-size work, 18cm in diameter,

Pic.5: Contestabile

Pic.5: Contestabile

which was sold for 310,000 francs by his owner, Count Scipione Conestabile della Staffa, who found himself in a difficult financial situation, in 1869. Ever since the piece has belonged to the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg in Russia.

The Coronation of Mary (Retample Oddi) (Picture 6) is an oil painting of 1502-04, measuring 2.67 x 1,63 meters and belongs to the Vatican. As an artistic style it belongs to the Perugino style. Mary and Christ flanked by cherubs appear to be in motion and are rendered very expressively. The classical spirit can be distinguished in the very small painting, 17×17 cm, known as “The Knight’s Dream” (Picture 6), made between 1504 and 1505, which is situated in London. The figures accompanying the sleeping youth are Virtue and Love and are made with both simplicity and clarity. Along the same dimensions and period (1504-05) as the “Knight’s Dream”, the “Three Graces” (Picture 6) are to be found in the Museum of Count in Chantilly. In this case the figures are three-dimensional with classical analogies symbolizing immortality. In the 15 cents of Lesotho we can see the “The Wedding Ceremony of Holy Mary” (1.74×1.21 meters): a work of 1504. This is about an artistic Renaissance masterpiece, with vigorous structure, which is the pride of the Brera Gallery in Milan. This is young Raphael’s distinguished piece of art with meticulous attention to its structure.


Pic.6: Retample Odd                     The Knight’s Dream                              The three Graces                     Virgin Mary’s Weddings

In the portrait of Elizabeth Gozzanca (Picture 7), 53×38 cm, produced in 1504, we can see the wife of the Count of Urbino, Guidobaldo, an educated and refined woman. The painting belongs to Uficci of Florence. The “Young Holy Mary”, Kaouper is displayed in Washington Museum (Picture 7). With dimensions of 60×40, made in 1505, the work still resounds Perugino along with the innovations of Raphael. The faces are gentle conveying a sense of intimacy to the observer. It was named after the Kaouper family who owned the piece for 130 years. The great Retample Ansidli (2.74×1.52 meters) was produced in 1505 (Picture 7) where one may notice the emotions depicted on the faces along with their three-dimensional version. It is situated in London. Its technique is exceptional. Under its Florence arch there is an interesting landscape in great detail in the background. From St. Lucia we may see the “Mary of the Meadows” (Picture 7) or Belvedere which measures 1.13 x 0.88 cm. It is a 1506 piece of art and is to be found in Vienna. Its composition comprises elements of Leonardo while this piece is an eternal prototype honoring Holy Mary.


Pic.7  Elizabetta Gontzanca           Young Madonna Kaouper                The Ansidei Retample                      Madonna di Belvedere

Around 1506, he created his self-portrait (47x33cm – Picture 8). This is situated in Ufficci gallery. This great painter reveals his melancholy while in his youth. In his “Madonna of the Great Duke”, 84×56 cm, (Picture 8), situated in Palazzo Pitti in Florence, a piece of 1506, we may distinguish the affectionate relationship between mother and child, as its name also denotes: due to the fact that its former owner, the Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinand III always used to carry the painting with him. “The Lady with the Unicorn” (65×51 cm) dates about the same period (Picture 8). It is part of the Borghese Gallery in Rome, while the unicorn acts as a symbol of purity. In 1506, he also created the “Holy Mary with the Goldfinch” held by two young children. The expressive figures, full of light, witness the influence of Leonardo. The painting belonged to the Nasi family until their house collapsed in 1547 and the crippled painting still survives. Today, it belongs to Ufficci Gallery.


Pic.8: Self Portrait              Madonna of the Grand Duke             Woman with the Unicorn               Madonna with the Goldfinch

In this Bulgarian stamp we notice the markedly rich bourgeois man, Agnolo Doni (65×45 cm – Picture 9), work of 1506-07, found in Palazzo Pitti. The all-pervasive, intelligent look of Doni, who had the rare opportunity for his name to be recorded in history because of that painting, dominates, while we are not in position to know about the actual ownership of many other surviving works of art of that period. The “Fair Gardener” (1.22 x 0.80 cm – Picture 9) comes from Canada , now part of the Louvre Museum, is a work of 1507: a simple composition, on surface, but with particular attention to the third dimension. The moving “Sepulchral Lamentation” (1.84×1.76cm – Picture 9) by Retample Baglioni was created in 1507. The painting secretly bears the message of the Resurrection and was stolen in 1608 by Schipio Borghrse from Perugia, where it previously belonged. Ever since it has been part of the Borghese Gallery, in Rome. The “Dumb” (Picture 9), work of 1507- 08, belongs to the Museum of Urbino and has been influenced by Leonardo. Her perfectly oval face emerges from the dark background and is staring at the observer. This is considered as a great portrayal achievement by Raphael.


Pic.9: Aniolo Doni               The Beatiful Gardener            Pieta Borghese or Baglioni                  The Mute

From Hungary we may see the portrait of a man of 1508 (Picture 10). This is in the Budapest Museum and the unknown youth has a lively look while there is a wonderful Tuscany landscape spreading in the background. During the same year (1508), Raphael is called by the Pope, Julius II, in the Vatican and embarks on the renowned frescoes within the Papal palace. In the Vatican block, we can see “The Dispute over the Sacraments” fresco of 1508-09 (Picture 10) with enormous dimensions, as its base measures 7.70 meters. Among the individuals discussing the Truth of Christ real figures have been included. This technique has undoubtedly earned the favor of many an admirer. “The School of Athens” (Picture 10), work of 1509, is one of the most well-known frescoes around the world. It is a masterpiece both in terms of its conception and execution. Among the figures presented one may recognize Sodoma, Brabande, Leonardo, Michelangelo and other famous figures of the time. This is his best creation. In 1510 the “Cardinal’s Portrait” was created (Picture 10), which belongs to the Prado Museum in Madrid. The name of the figure illustrated remains unknown but this unofficial work is full of the social and existential dignity of the person depicted.


Pic.10: Portrait of a Young Man                          La Disputa                                 The School of Athens                      Cardinal’s Portrait

The creation of the “Mary of the Duke of Alba” or “The Holy Mary of the Dawn” emerging from the morning light in the landscape (Picture 11) goes back to 1511. This is a well-wrought round painting – 95 cm in diameter – that is distinguished by its fluidity in its composition and an almost invisible circular rhythm. It belonged to Hermitage, but in 1930 a great number of masterpieces were secretly sold under the blessings of Stalin. Thus 21 pieces reached the hands of the American tycoon Andrew Mellon who in his turn offered them to Washington Museum. “Madonna Alba” was one of them. It is worth noting that the Russians needed the money in order to buy tractors! The portrait of Tomasso (Fedra) Inghirami (Picture 11) was made in 1511-12 and is situated in Palazzo Pitti. Here Raphael succeeded in incorporating a kind of internal energy in his work along with an ethical force while, at the same time, he was not dealing with a beautiful model: in fact the model suffered from strabismus. Surely, Inghirami being a great intellectual, deserved that. The postcard (Picture 11) presents the portrait of Pope Julius II, Raphael’s patron. The power of his personality can be seen along with some degree of fatigue. This painting (1.08×0.080 meters) enjoyed such a success that the Popes who followed demanded to be depicted in the same manner. The piece belongs to the London National Gallery. On the Gibraltar postage stamp (Picture 11), work of 1511-12, we may see “Madonna Folignio”. The commissioner is shown on his knees in the foreground. The work is renowned for its artistic landscape by Raphael.


Pic.11: Madonna of the Duke of Alba          Tomasso (Fedra) Inghirami             Pope Julius II                  Madonna of Folignio

The great fresco of Galatia was made in 1512 (2.95×2.25cm – Picture 12) in the villa of Farnesina in Rome. Agostino Chiggi, a very rich banker, was the owner of the place. The sense of movement, beauty and sensuality that are part of this fresco point to the fact that Raphael’s art had no limits regardless of the theme, being it religious or mythical, as in our case. The Holy Mary is depicted as lively and beautiful in the Holy Mary of Saint Sistine of Dresden or, better known, as “Madonna Sistine” of 1513 ( 2.65×1.96 meters – Picture 12). It is almost certain that his lover, Fornarina, posed as a model for the Holy Mary. On the left, there is the face of Julius II replacing that of Saint Sistine. The angels (Picture 12) in the foreground are universally known as they have been used in various different decor including any other conceivable artwork such as tapestries and Christmas tissues. The round picture of Holy Mary of 1513-14 (Picture 12 – 71cm in diameter) with the armchair comes from Lesotho and is to be found in Palazzo Pitti. This a well-known work of art distinguished by its movement, tenderness and power of expression.


Pic.12: Fresco “Galatia”         Madonna of the Chapel                              Angels of Madonna’s                          Madonna of the Armchair

In 1514, Raphael was appointed as the architect of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome (Picture 13), as Brabande, who had offered so much to that artistic workshop had died (Picture 13). Baltassare Castiglione (Picture 13 – 0.82×0.67 cm), both an ambassador and an author, became one of the themes of Raphael in 1515. This is part of the Louvre Museum in Paris. Here the artist created an exceptional, psychological portrait. This painting is characterized by its simplicity along with its very expressive face revealing its inner world. The composition is full of serenity, culture and nobility. “La Velata” (Picture 13 – 0.82×0.60 cm), situated in Palazzo Pitti and painted in 1516, is a woman richly dressed and is allegedly the painter’s lover. The arrow that is covering her contributed to the very name of the painting. Raphael rendered her as an individual belonging to high society by stressing her delicate features.


Pic.13: St. Peter and Bramante                                                     Baltassare Castiglione                             La Velata

In 1516, he also painted Cardinal Bernando Dovicci di Bibiena (Picture 14). He was a powerful man, who had a tendency towards a luxurious way of life including art and the authorship of comedies rather than religion. The new Pope, Leo X and Raphael’s patron was painted along with his nephews in 1518 (Picture 14). The painting belongs to Galleria Ufficci and measures 1.55×1.19 meters. It has a stately appearance with expensive material and objects interspersed within its magnificent figures. All three figures in the painting belong to the Medici family. The “Fornarina” of Palazzo Barberini (Picture 14), work of 1518-1519, shows Raphael’s lover, whom Chiggi had brought with him in his house (Farnesina-Galatia) so that the painter could spend some time with her, in order to help the artist finish his frescoes as there had already been a great delay due to his uncontrollable passion for her. His last work is the oblong “Transfiguration” (Picture 14 – 4.05×0.78 meters). This masterpiece of 1518-1520, which can be found in the Vatican, is full of movement along with warm and bright colors while it conveys the message of Resurrection through the light enveloping Christ. This painting was placed next to his coffin during his funeral, in 1520, at the age of only 38.


Pic.14: Cardinal Bibiena                        Pope Leon X                             Fornarina                          The Transformation

For more than 500 years, his Madonnas, along with those of Leonardo, have become eternal prototypes of beauty and have exerted a great influence on other artists as they bordered on perfection. He did not get on well with Michelangelo, however, there was always mutual respect in terms of artistic recognition. Almost all Raphael’s works bear the names of their previous owners or their depicted themes. The names do help towards the recognition and differentiation among his Madonnas: Alba Colona Sixtina and so on.


The Greek stamp dedicated to Aristotle

Postage stamps with Raphael have been issued by many countries around the globe with the exception of, mainly, Arabic ones. Only one postage stamp was dedicated to Raphael, in Greece, in 1978, without bearing his name on it! The stamp is actually dedicated to Aristotle!

The greatness of his name within the artistic pantheon is beyond dispute. He has left us with a wealth of extraordinary pieces, all done within his brief lifespan, escorted by his ingenious ideas that reveal themselves through his creations.

I hope you enjoy this artistic journey through philately. Rafael was one of the greatest artists of all times. The little paper stamps tribune him as much as they can. And they can do it … a lot!

KO for eCharta

JOE RUBINSTEIN – the Inker – the Artist


Joe Rubinstein was born in Israel. He emigrated to the U.S. at the age of 5 years old. His cousin had a bunch of comic books and Joe naturally was fascinated by them. Joe wasn’t speaking the language at the beginning and he was fascinated by the pictures. Like all kids, he drew his own comics. That was the start! Eventually he wanted to be an artist. At age 11 he attended classes at the Arts Students League of New York. His art teacher Arthur J. Foster, son of the great Hal Foster (creator/artist of “Prince Valiant,” one of the most highly regarded comic strips in history) was his first mentor.

Finally Joe Rubinstein became one of the greatest inkers in comic industry and he appears in 1029 comic issues! Joe is also an award-winning portrait artist and illustrator. his drawing ability is extraordinary and we see that in all of his work!

Joe Rubinstein took some time from his busy schedule to answer some questions giving us some insight about life, drawing, people …inking.

Here it is:

Q: Hey Joe! How are you? We know that your comic story is pretty …long! So, let’s go back in time! Do you remember you first professional work? Do you actually remember the first piece you did as a pro and when did you do it? Could you tell us the history behind it?


Joe’s first solo job:
Tales of The Great Disaster in the back of Kamandi

Joe: My first solo job was appropriately enough called Tales of The Great Disaster in the back of Kamandi. Mike Netzer / Nasser had drawn some samples and I asked him if I could practice on copies of them and he said to go ahead and ink the real thing, so he got this 6 pager to draw and then I was assigned the inking. I was 17 and I think Mike was 20 years old.

Q: You said from time to time that your idol in the past was Neal Adams. Then you met in your inking career many artists. Who is the person that had the biggest influence on you and your comic work? Did this person change your work or the way you draw?

Joe: Working at Continuity studios when I was 13 (running errands) the guy who paid attention to my needs and taught me was the great Dick Giordano Adams couldn’t be bothered with teaching except for the occasional turse word or two but I did look through the files that he studied from and I learned from those people. That’s why my work looks like his. We learned from the same artists. To whatever degree I actually know how to draw that came from life drawing classes and studying with many artists.

Q: We see that you have a unique style of inking – at least many people state it. We bet that your style became unique while you have inked more pencillers than any other inker!

byrne_ohotmu_deluxe_1_cover-marvel univers

Joe was doing on and off for 20 years
The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe.
Here you see the Deluxe Edition #1 Cover

Joe: Sorry to disagree with you but I think my stuff is very much into the Stan Drake / Holdiway / Drucker illustrative school of inking, unless I make a decision to ink differently. I am a little different from most inkers because I change my approach and my tools depending upon the style I’m inking. I don’t want to “take over”.

When I’m done I wanted the work to look like the penciler’s work I respect, just a better version of that art work or at the very least do no harm to it .I learned this philosophy from Dick Giordano. I think I was given The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe to do on and off for 20 years because I could accommodate everyone’s style but at the same time give it a certain amount of cohesion in style.

Q: Do you really hold the Guinness record for it! How did that happen? Do you believe that attending the Arts Students League have a main role for inking so many pencilers?

Joe: The Guinness record if it existed which it doesn’t. I made a joke about that one day and it stuck. Going to the Art Students League of NY was very important for me to start learning to draw from life but I’ve also studied with a lot of very great prominent mostly East Coast artists privately and in other schools. I am currently attending 3 classes a week.

Q: Which artists or creators do you return to for a quick boost of inspiration while you have some numb periods? Who do you think that are the masters of ink?

Joe: Stan Drake, Kubert / Drucker / Janson / Williamson and many others I’m sure I’ve forgetting. Ink Masters would be Gibson, Goodwin, Flag, ER Kinstler Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Heinrick Klee. I don’t know any of their work shows up in mine but they certainly are inspirations.


When Joe is bored with inking he paints
watercolors or pastels. Lola’s portrait!
Collection of Mr & Mrs Chris Stamp (manager of The Who)

 Q: What do you do to recharge your batteries and reach a state of mind in order to place your hands back on the paper?

Joe: Don’t forget I don’t do much penciling  but when I’m really just bored with inking and B&W I paint a watercolor or  pastel  or something in color just to challenge me and wake me up.

Q: What tools do you use to create your work and what makes them the “right tools” for you? Let us know if you have a favorite brand of ink or type of paper or a particular material.

Joe: I have 3-4-5 different kind of pens I use and 2-3 different kind of brushes in different sizes depending upon the style that I’m trying to achieve. I use flexible pens for one style and a stiff pen for another. I use thin ink for pen work and thicker ink for brushwork never mixing the two. Something a little unusual I do is shave/whittle the back of the brush and attach the pinpoint to that end of the brush to give me a really firm natural grip.

I use comic book paper for watercolors because it’s tough and I happen to have it around.

Q: What element of your work gives you the most personal satisfaction?


He’s painting and drawing portraits and figures
trying to get some sort of emotional communication. Stan Lee’s portrait.

Joe: I still get satisfaction from collaborating on a good job with a penciler but I get satisfaction from doing my own work. I’m painting and drawing usually portraits and figures trying to get  some sort of emotional communication about the person whether it’s how I feel about them or possibly how I hope the viewer might have room to feel about them.

Q: What has been the most rewarding project in your career so far and why?

Joe: I guess that would be The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe because I got to work with so many great pencilers and people who never pencil for anybody else (Kubert, Bolland / Severin, Drake, Palmer etc.). I also did a Bible story with Rick Leonardi I was very proud of and three-part Tangled Web of Spider-Man with Lee Weeks. I’m also very happy with the BRILLIANT issues with Bagley. Currently I’m inking a series called One Minute Later for a private collector. I’ve done something between 20 and 30 of them and have gotten to ink a lot wonderful artists and a lot of wonderful interesting pieces.

Q: Let us know about any current or any upcoming projects.

Joe: I just finished inking half an issue of the Fantastic Four with Mark Bagley and also with Mark a series for Marvel/Icon written by Brian Bendis called BRILLIANT. I’m doing a graphic novel about children with cancer called Nistar as well as an 8 part indy series called Murder Mysteries. I’m also doing a Superman movie related project at this time.


Nistar is a graphic novel about a superhero for children with cancer written by
Shira Frimer and illustrated by Josef Rubinstein and other comic book artists!
The first creator-owned book by ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN co-creators Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley,
BRILLIANT tells the story of a handful of college-age geniuses who challenge each other to solve the mystery of superpowers.
Inking by Joe Rubinstein.

Q: We’ve all met very talented newcomers –or not – who are working their asses off but still need and want to break through to the next level. What would you suggest to them? What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard given to a promising new creator?

Joe_Head_shot_1Joe: Find a mentor, become an apprentice, learn your craft, study what’s been done before, look at what they are buying now, look at other sources of art, don’t limit yourself to comic books. Stay current with technology.

This is it Joe! Thank you for your time!

Comic people keep in mind: work, work, work – draw, draw, draw –  don’t limit yourself to comic books – Stay current with technology! Mr. Josef Rubinstein said it all!

KO for eCharta

Some links to find Joe Rubinstein work:

ComicVine – Comics inker.portrait painter.Illustrator.Teacher.Murals

His Facebook profile

List your Art for Free. For EVER!

Dear photo mates,

We’d like to announce that eCharta runs an offer for FREE BuyOut listing FOR EVER!

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Upload all your beautiful ART, your watercolor masterpiece, your prints and anything made of paper for sale with no listing charge!!!

That simple! Nothing to lose!

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Walt’s birthday. An epic day for comics and animation!

This day has to be dedicated in comics & animation!

Walter Elias “Walt” Disney was born as today on 5 December, 1901.


This immense American film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, animator, entrepreneur, entertainer, international icon,and philanthropist, well-known for his influence in the field of entertainment during the 20th century, along with his brother Roy O. Disney, he was co-founder of Walt Disney Productions. One of the best-known motion picture producers in the world.

Disney is particularly noted as a film producer and a popular showman, as well as an innovator in animation and theme

park design. He and his staff created some of the world’s most well-known fictional characters including Mickey Mouse, for whom Disney himself provided the original voice.

During his lifetime he received four honorary Academy Awards and won 22 Academy Awards from a total of 59 nominations! Actually he made a record in one year that he gained 4, giving him more awards and nominations than any other individual in history. This enormous cartoonist and film maker also won seven Emmy Awards and gave his name to five theme parks around the world!


Amazing Walter!

We’re really supporting comics, cartooning, comic strips and animation! We support them for the great art they are..

We already have mention three times comic stories on this blog: Paper stories and Eric Castel, Steamboat Mickey! and Woody Woodpecker first appearance in Knock Knock ! Enjoy…

Some paper ideas from the same date from the past!

KO for eCharta

Verrazano Narrows Bridge

Giovanni da Verrazzano (1485–1528) was an Italian explorer of North America, in the service of the French crown. He is well-known as the first European since the Norse expeditions to North America around AD 1000 to travel and explore the Atlantic coast of North America between the Carolinas and Newfoundland, including New York Harbor in 1524. The bridge over the opening of New York harbor is among his several eponymous tributes.

Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was conceived nearly a century before it was built. An article in the Richmond County Gazette in 1869, prophesied the day was not “far distant when a bridge will be built across the Narrows from the lighthouse to Fort Hamilton in Long Island.”

But the bridge’s truss is erected in 1963. The final price tag for the 2.2-mile-long span – at the time, the largest suspension bridge in the world – was placed at $32 million.

In August 1964, the upper deck of the bridge was paved, and as today, on November 21st 1964 the bridge was officially opened to the public. On Nov. 23, the Post Office issued a commemorative stamp featuring the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

You can find a lot of paper memorabilia about the bridge; accurately about any bridge! There are many collectors with bridge thematic collections of stamps, art, postcards or engravings!

Some paper ideas from the same date from the past!

KO for eCharta