Friday, November 07, 2008

Switzerland through the eyes of foreign artists

A lot of French stamp collectors complain that the French post issues too many stamps whose subject are not really typical of France. They consider, and I have a tendency to agree with them, that postage stamps should be some sort of ambassadors of our country and culture in all other countries of the world. And from what I see in various English and American philatelic publications, it seems that French people are not the only one to complain about those stamps issues that are not really related to the culture of their country. Of course I don't even mention the countries that issue thousands of stamps per year without any link to local culture !

In this respect, I think the idea of the Swiss post to ask foreign artists to design stamps picturing how the country is seen through their eyes is a very good idea.

If I'm asked what is typical of Switzerland, I would answer : Swiss cheese, Chocolate, clock and Swiss knife. On the 4th of September 2008 the Swiss post has issued four stamps picturing exactly those four subjects!

The Emmental, the very well known Swiss cheese, made from cows' milk, with its very characteristic holes :

The chocolate:

The clock :

And finally the Swiss knife :

These stamps were designed by a young Italian artist Laura Mangiavacchi. I think the design of these stamps is very simple, very nice and therefore very efficient !
“Switzerland through the eyes of foreign artists” is in fact a series started in 2006 and that will end in 2009. The very first part of this series was issued on the 9th of May 2006 (the day of my 40th birthday ;-) ). The four stamps was designed by a French artist, Patrice Killofer who decided to represent Switzerland through another typical symbol : cows in the meadows. The four stamps picture a cow through the four seasons and are rather funny. Here is a picture of the stamps.

In 2007 the approach was a bit different. The selected country swas Great Britain, and the Swiss post has selected four English writers who have taken, at one point in time, their inspiration in Switzerland. Here is a picture of the stamps.

The selected artists are :
- Mary Shelley who took inspiration in Switzerland for her very famous “Frankenstein”
- Arthur Conan Doyle who located the plot of “The Final problem” (a story of Sherlock Holmes) in Switzerland
- William Wordsworth, an English poet who was fascinated by the Alps
- Lord Byron who celebrated the Lake Leman in “The prisoner of Chillon”
The four stamps pictures a black and white photography. I personally think that the black text mentioning the name of the artists, the title of his/her work, the date and the name of the place pictured on the stamp is a bit hard to read sometimes...
I wonder which country will be selected next year for the final set of the series, and what approach will be chosen this time !

1 comment:

Jeevan Jyoti said...

Nice Post on beautiful Swiss stamps !

Shimla, India