Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Czech Republic 2016 - Charles IV

COUNTRY: Czech Republic
ISSUE DATE: 4 May 2016
SIZE: 116 x 175 mm
ENGRAVER: Miloš Ondráček

Charles IV (14 May 1316, Prague - 29 November 1378, Prague), the Holy Roman Emperor and Czech King, according to a tradition based on his contemporary portraits in which realism was just awakening from medieval schematism.

With a noble gesture, the great statesman, skilful diplomat, educated, cultured, wise and ambitious builder hands the results of his aspirations over to subsequent generations. The entire composition refers to his extraordinary spiritual, cultural and tangible legacy in a number of ways. These include the stylised initials of Charles’ name from the deed of the foundation of the university in Prague used in the stamp, and the scene depicted on the main coupon where the king symbolically hands the deed of foundation to St. Wenceslas. It is not a direct transposition of the university seal. Only the composition scheme is maintained. It was also used by the designer to refer to the creation of the timeless tradition of St. Wenceslas as patron saint of Bohemia by Charles IV. The portrait is a famous work by Jindřich Parléř (although from a later time) from St. Wenceslas Chapel in St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague. 

The ground plan in the background refers to the gigantic building project of the cathedral. The cathedral as well as the extensive building activities initiated by Charles IV are evoked by the architectural elements of the high Gothic supporting system which frames the miniature sheet. This area also includes specific buildings related to Charles Bridge. 

The ambitious and far-sighted project of Prague’s New Town is shown in the street plan running through the entire miniature sheet. The muses playing musical instruments symbolise the refinement of all kinds of art in Charles’ era. Finally, the small coupon refers to his support of agriculture and the entire economy, such as the creation of ponds and vineyards and the introduction of new fish species (barbel).

Stamp images and description thanks to Česká pošta