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Number: 1416
Value: letter code A
Design: Ivana Vučić i Tomislav-Jurica Kačunić, designer from Zagreb
Photo: Miro Martinić, photographer from Zagreb
Size: 35.50 x 29.82 mm
Paper: white 102 g, gummed
Perforation: Comb,14
Technique: Multicolored Offsetprint
Printed by: AKD d.o.o., Zagreb
Date of issue: 28/11/2022
Quantity: 400,000

As a mirage, the Đakovo Cathedral emerges from the Slavonian plain. Bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer was building it from 1866 to 1882. The Adoration of Kings and Shepherds is Lodovico’s work. The first impression of the scene is solemnity.

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As a mirage, the Đakovo Cathedral emerges from the Slavonian plain, made as a symbol of all that “for faith and country” sought to be accomplished and achieved by bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer. He was building it from 1866 to 1882, on the site of a small medieval Baroque church, led by faith in the future, a gesture of pride and self-awareness. He entrusted the construction to the Viennese architect Karl Rösner, and after his death to Friedrich von Schmidt, whose associate, with great authority, was Hermann Bollé. The cathedral was built in a Neo-Romanesque style, which emphasizes monumentality of the building by its stereometric construction and clarity. Having built his cathedral, Strossmayer in a certain way moved the border of the West; he enriched the historical network of western cathedrals with a masterpiece of historicism. In his desire for clarity and alignment with architecture, he entrusted the elaborate, very complex task of iconographic wall painting, on the theme of the Old and New Testaments, to Johann Friedrich Overbeck, the most important painter of a group of Nazarenes. The Nazarene painting style embodied a restoration of Christian inspiration and Renaissance forms. A new interpretation of their works, which have long been reproached for anachronism, today recognizes different values in them. Overbeck made sketches for bishop Strossmayer, but he did not have time to paint frescoes. He was succeeded by a Nazarene painter from Munich, Alexander Maximilian Seitz, and his son Lodovico, who modified Overbeck’s templates. In social terms and by representativeness of paintings and painting orderer, both artists belong to the upper class of their time. The father, the first teacher of his son Lodovico, was the godson of King Ludwig I of Bavaria; Lodovico was the director of the Vatican Galleries, and he painted, among other things, frescoes in the Apostolic Palace (which is now part of the Vatican Museums), and in the Basilica of Loreto... The Adoration of Kings and Shepherds is Lodovico’s work. The first impression of the scene is solemnity. There is no intimate scenery of a stable, hay, animals that keep Jesus warm. Madonna with the Child sits on the throne, aureoles around their heads, the angels hold the scarlet fabric with gold ornaments as a backdrop. Over the throne, the star from the celestial spheres pours a stream of light. The dark core in the middle of the star may be God’s eye. This star often carries within it a message of destiny: when it leads kings, at the center of it can be the figure of the Child; above the Birth scene in the star is sometimes a cross. Thus, painters transform the present, by including hints of the future. Seitz’s scene has already shifted from an environment of poverty and modesty to a glorious future. The composition is ruled by dynamic symmetry; the subjects are realistic in their clothing (folk figures are dressed in Slavonian and Bosnian costumes, according to the territorial organization of the Diocese of Strossmayer, but they also carry olives, forming a broader vision of Croatia); they are stopped, however, in movements, frozen in an instant, and themselves create a large overall ornament of the painting. Notwithstanding the richly painted green soil, the background of the painting is abstract: it is dominated by a clean, uniform blue background with the land not connected to the sky. The painting is a masterpiece, colors are refined, carefully subordinate to the symbolic center - Our Lady’s image; tonal modeling pays respect to the outline. If the roots of Seitz’s work are in a more intimate Nazarene inspiration, his stylization belongs to historicism. The paintings of the Đakovo Cathedral are accompanied by words. Under the Adoration of Kings and Shepherds stands, for kings: DOŠAV KRALJI S IZTOKA POKLONIŠE SE GOSPODINU I DARIVAŠE GA / ZLATOM, TAMJANOM I MYRRHOM / [UPON COMING FROM EAST THE KINGS BOWED TO THE LORD AND GAVE HIM / GOLD, INCENSE AND MYRRH /]; for shepherds: DOĆI ĆEJU ŽURNO I VESELO PRINOSEĆ / PRVENCE OD VINOVE LOZE PŠENICE MASLINE POVRTLJA I OVACA [THEY WILL COME RUSHED AND CHEERFULLY YIELDING / FIRSTS FROM THE VINE WHEAT OLIVES VEGETABLES AND SHEEP]. It is a beautiful gift giving, the value of which, especially today, is equalized. Their sum is also beautiful, the richness that Josip Juraj Strossmayer left us with his cathedral. Academician Željka Čorak

Number: CHRISTMAS 2022
Type: C
Description:   Motif: wall painting Adoration of Kings and Shepherds from the Đakovo Cathedral The stamp was issued in a 20 stamps-sheet and a postage stamp booklet of 10 self-adhesive stamps. The Croatian Post has also issued a First Day Cover (FDC).
Date: 28/11/2022

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