The fascination with angels has transcended many generations. People are warmed by the notion of celestial beings watching over them. This winter, Canada Post will rekindle the spirit of angels with a delightful Christmas set of three stamps featuring the angelic sculpture of seventh- and nineteenth-century Quebec artists.
Sculptural style evolved during the two centuries in which these three works of art were produced. Artists in early Quebec were influenced by various European - and particularly the French - artistic movements, but a certain originality borne of Quebec's unique cultural context became evident in their sculpture.
This domestic-rate Christmas issue depicts a Baroque sculpture commissioned around 1673 by the Récollets to adorn the canopy of their chapel in Quebec City. The statue represents the Angel of the Last Judgement, enforcer of divine justice. Made of walnut, the angel, glided with gold leaf, holds a white-pine trumpet. His body is long, nearly 10 times the size of his head. His tunic appears to flutter in the wind, while the hollows in the drape of his robe and the feathers of his wings allows for the interplay between shadow and light. The calm and serene facial expression and the careful positioning of arms and fingers lend the statue a certain elegance. "Angel of the Last Judgement" is believed to be the oldest free-standing figure sculpted in New France The creator, though unknown, is thought to have been one of the first European-trained artists to arrive in New France.
The 1998 Christmas stamps are available in both panes and booklets. Designed by Anita Zeppetelli of Gottschalk & Ash International Design Consultants, these issues combine the peaceful expressions of the statues with background images of light rays and clouds to reflect a celestial and spiritual sense. The set will be released November 6 in Lévis, Quebec.