The new Vatican stamp for Christmas 2014 will be issued on November 21, and reproduces an oil-on-canvas painting by the Argentinean artist Raúl Soldi, located in the Santa Ana de Glew chapel outside Buenos Aires.
This year’s Christmas stamp has been prepared in collaboration with the Argentine postal system, renewing a tradition that has already produced great results with other countries. Argentina and the Vatican have already coproduced a series of stamps earlier this year honoring Pope Francis.
The artist Raúl Soldi spent 23 years (1953-1976) covering the 2700 square feet of the chapel with frescoes. Years ago, while vacationing in the village of Glew, 20 miles from Buenos Aires, he had come upon the chapel by chance and was struck by the beauty of the walls of the chapel, but distressed by their emptiness.
The artist asked the pastor to be allowed a space to fresco and Father Jerónimo, a Franciscan from Czechoslovakia, agreed to give the painter a section of wall for a “test.” For the next 22 summers Raúl Soldi continuing frescoing all the walls.
The image of the Nativity of this year’s stamp as well as the “Betrothal of Mary and Joseph” are not frescoes but oil paintings on canvas, also displayed in the chapel. Soldi spent ten years working on these two paintings.
Today the church in Glew houses a precious artistic treasure known mostly by experts and scholars.