Sunday, November 21, 2010

San Marino 2010 "The Football Players" by Henri Rousseau

This 1.50-euro stamp, featuring Henri Rousseau's "The Football Players", from San Marino was issued 26 July 2010 together with 3 other stamps featuring paintings by Botticelli (The Birth of Venus), Giorgione da Castelfranco Veneto (The Tempest) & Caravaggio (The Supper at Emmaus). This painting was first displayed at the Salon des Ind├ępendants in 1908, the only exhibition held during Rousseau's lifetime; Rousseau died 2 years later. The painting links back to the first rugby matches held in France; and in it, Rousseau attempted to express movement.He used real models, representing them with care, and in particular, he creates the notion of distance by gradually reducing the size of the leaves. His painting style, deemed infantile at the beginning, sort of pioneered modernist painting styles - followed by famous artists like Picasso. "The Football Players" is currently located at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, as part of an exhibition to commemorate the centenary of Rousseau's death.

Interestingly, the stamp spells Henri as Henry, and printed its title as "Rugby Players" in italian. In the 1908 London Olympic Games, rugby was classed as football, and only Great Britain (represented by the team from Cornwall) and Australia were represented.