Princely Treasures: Relief stamps from Liechtenstein

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This issue, on which two reliefs by the Italian artist Massimiliano Soldani-Benzi (1656 –1740) are reproduced, continues the “Princely Treasures” stamp series with two more precious objects from the Princely Collection.

Massimiliano Soldani-Benzi was deemed the best bronze founder in Europe in the late 17th century. For the great art collector and patron of the arts Prince Johann Adam Andreas I of Liechtenstein (1662 –1712) he made a series of bronze copies based on masterpieces in the Florentine collections.

The two reliefs depicted on the stamps have however come into the possession of the House of Liechtenstein only in the last ten years. The 1710/20 terracotta relief (60.5 x 48.5 cm) depicting “Christ’s Descent from the Cross” (face value CHF 1.00) was acquired by Prince Hans-Adam II von und zu Liechtenstein in 2005.

Earlier, in 2003, Prince Hans-Adam purchased the bronze relief “Christ on the Mount of Olives” (65 x 44.5 cm), which was probably cast in about 1722. The image shows an unusual iconography for which there is no precedent in the Gospel: Christ, after passing the night before his arrest awake praying in the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives, is shown passing out in the arms of two angels.

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