The completion of the restoration of the Chapel of Pope Nicholas V, also known as the Niccolina Chapel, was commemorated with the release of four Vatican stamps on May 6, 2003. The values and designs are as follows:
41-cent - St. Lawrence's consecration as a deacon
62-cent - St. Stephen preaching to the people
77-cent - the trial of St. Lawrence
1,03-euro - the stoning of St. Stephen
In 1448, Pope Nicholas V called upon the Dominican friar Giovanni da Fiesole, better known as Fra Angelico (1400-1455), to decorate his private chapel in Rome. Fra Angelico combined use of the Renaissance technique of perspective and emphasis on the decorum and beauty of the classical Greek and Roman world with the mystical values of the Middle Ages. He painted a number of scenes showing the parallel lives of St. Stephen (d. 35) and St. Lawrence (d. 258), martyred deacons of the Churches of Jerusalem and Rome, respectively. Fourteen patriarchs and prophets of the Old Testament, facing towards Christ, represent the Church in the chapel. The four Evangelists are represented in the vault. On the pillars that support the structure are painted the eight Doctors of the Church of East and West.
The stamps are vertical in format, measure 40.85 x 52 mm, and have a perforation of 13. At the top of each stamp appear the words BEATO ANGELICO, the Papal Crown and Crossed Keys, and the words CAPELLA NICCOLINA. The name of the illustration is visible along the sides of each stamp. The value and the words CITTA DEL VATICANO appear at the bottom of each stamp. They were issued in sheets of ten. Imprimérie de Timbres-Poste of France printed 300,000 complete series using the rotogravure process.
Reference: Crimando, Thomas. "Restoration of the Niccola Chapel." Vatican Notes 52, no. 2 (September 2003): 8.
Date: May 6, 2003
Medium: paper; ink (multicolored)/ photogravure
Museum ID: W.2008-344
Place: VATICAN CITY (independent city state)