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Vatican’s Easter stamp to feature street art


John Burger - published on 02/12/20 - updated on 02/13/20

"Just Use It" is emblazoned over the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The Vatican is issuing a special postage stamp for Easter this year featuring “street art” from Rome.

The image on the 1.15 euro stamp dedicated to Easter 2020 is a graffiti rendition of “The Ascension,” by Heinrich Hofmann (1824-1911). The “street art” is located near Rome’s Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II.

Born in Darmstadt, Germany, Hofmann spent time in Rome and is known for many paintings of the life of Jesus, especially “Christ in Gethsemane.”

In the street art version, the words “Just Use It” are superimposed over Christ’s Sacred Heart. It is apparently a play on Nike’s slogan “Just Do It.” One commenter on social media speculated that the intent of the artist was to encourage people who are troubled to take refuge in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which is offered for all humanity.

A quote from Pope Francis’ Urbi et Orbi message for Easter 2019 accompanies the stamp’s issue: “The Resurrection of Christ is the principle of new life for every man and every woman, because true renewal always starts from the heart, from conscience. But Easter is also the beginning of the new world, freed from the slavery of sin and death: the world finally open to the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of love, peace and fraternity. Christ lives and remains with us. He shows the light of his Risen face and does not abandon those who are in trial, pain and mourning.”

Issued at the same time is a stamp marking the 250th anniversary of the death of the Venetian painter Giambattista Tiepolo. The stamps, of varying values, feature the artist’s depiction of the “Sacrifice of Isaac,” a fresco painted between 1727-1728, kept at the Galleria degli ospiti of the Patriarchal Palace of Udine. Since 1995, the palace has housed the Diocesan Museum and the Tiepolo Galleries.

The featured work portrays Isaac, sitting on a rock with his arms tied behind his back and his right leg bent. Behind him standing and in profile we see his father Abraham with his left hand on his chest and his right arm raised wielding a dagger. Above, on the right side, an angel surrounded by a cloud, stops the hand of Abraham and indicates the ram with which to carry out the sacrifice. The Old Testament story has been seen as a foreshadowing of the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.

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