The Art of Jesuits



Brother Jean Denis Attiret, SJ
(1702 – 1768)

Scott 4182

Scott 4178 Scott 4179 Scott 4180 Scott 4181
NORTH KOREA, 2002, issue for the Year of the Horse, from Attiret's album Ten Noble Steeds, The Palace Museum, Beijing.
These four stamps are also issued on a mini-sheet with a fifth painting by Xu Bei Hong (1895-1953), Scott 4178-4182

Jean Denis Attiret (Chinese name: Wáng Zhì Chéng) was a French Jesuit painter and missionary to China, who was born in Dole, France, July 31, 1702. He studied art in Rome and made himself a name as a portrait painter. While a Jesuit novice, he did paintings in the cathedral of Avignon and the Sodality chapel. He went to China in 1737 and was given the title "Painter to the Emperor" by the Qianlong Emperor. Because the emperor insisted on the use of a Chinese painting methods and styles, Attiret's painting eventually became entirely Chinese in style. Most of his works were paintings of natural subjects such as trees, fruit, fish and other animals done on glass or silk. But they also include portraits of members of the imperial family and court; altogether he is credited with at least 200 portraits .After successful military campaigns in Central Asia, the Qianlong Emperor commissioned depictions of the battles. The work was carried out by four Jesuit artists, among them Attiret. The group produced 16 tableaux, which were engraved in France in 1774, six years after Attiret's death in Beijing, China on December 8, 1768. More

Brother Bernardo Bitti, SJ

Scott 548 Scott 1215
BOLIVIA, 1972, Bitti's Madonna and Child with St. John, Scott 548
This stamp also appeared on imperf souvenir sheet to honor the International Year of the Child in 1979 and to celebrate Christmas in 1982 and 1987
2003, Bitti's Adoration of the Shepherds, Scott 1215

Bernardo Bitti learned his art in Rome among the Mannerist painters who followed in the train of Michelangelo. He entered the Jesuits in 1568 at the age of 20. He was sent to Peru, and arrived in Lima the first of May in 1575 (forty years after the city's foundation). The following year the viceroy sent him to Titicaca to be in charge of the local missions. His works may be found in Lima, Arequipa, Cuzco, Huamanga, Puno, Juli, La Paz, Chuquisaca, Potosí and elsewhere. He is considered to have introduced Mannerism into South America. Art historian Manuel Soria called him the best painter of sixteenth-century South America. According to Ricardo Estrabidis Cárdenas, the presence of Bitti in America represents evangelization by means of the image.

Michel B35
BOLIVIA, 1972, Olympics Munich 1972 souvenir sheets, Scott 548a
with Bitti's Madonna and Child with St. John

Michel B126 Michel B170
BOLIVIA, 1982 and 1987, Christmas souvenir sheets, with works of Rubens and Drurer
and both with Bitti's Madonna and Child with St. John, Scott 548, Michel B126 and B170

Brother Emmanuel Pereira (Yu Wenhui), SJ

2010, for the 4th centenary of Ricci's death, and its FDI cancel,
featuring the 1610 portrait of Ricci, now in the sacristy of the Church of the Gesù in Rome

Yu Wenhui, known by his Latinized name Emmanuel Pereira, was the first Chinese to serve the Jesuits in China. He was born in Macao in 1575, converted to Christianity and was sent to Japan in the 1590s to study at the art school set up there by Giovanni Nicolao, SJ, returning to Ricci in 1598. He is perhaps best known for his painting of Matteo Ricci (above), done shortly after Ricci's death. Ironically, Ricci thought his paintings mediocre and had sent another Chinese to Japan to be trained to replace him. Pereira took his vows as a Jesuit brother on Christmas 1617 in Japan, at a time when the Jesuits there were subject to persecution or expulsion.

Brother Daniel Seghers, SJ

Scott 1065
BELGIUM, Christmas 1980, Seghers' Garland and Nativity, Scott 1065

Daniel Seghers, a Jesuit brother, was born in Antwerp, and raised by his widowed mother in the Calvinist faith. In 1610, recently arrived in Antwerp, he became a student of Jan Brueghel the Elder and a member of the painters' guild of St. Luke. It was from Brueghel and Rubens that Seghers derived his characteristic style of painting religious scenes within garlands of flowers, so that he became known as "The Painter of Flowers, the Flower of Painters." Under Brueghel's influence he returned to Catholicism and entered the Jesuit novitiate at Malines in 1614. After his final vows in 1625 he signed his pictures as Daniel Seghers Societatis Jesu. About 200 of his paintings are known to survive.

cott 2791  Scott 2793  Scott 2793
, Christmas 2004, Scott 2791, 2793
Seghers' Floral Wreath with Virgin and Child ($1) oil on canvas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain
and his Madonna in a Floral Wreath ($8) oil on copper, Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent

Scott 845
PALAU, 2005, Christmas issue Madonna in a Floral Wreath, Scott 845

Brother Ignatius Sichelbart, SJ

Scott 3836
CHINA (Taiwan), 2008, Bailutu (A Hundred Deer) by Ignatius Sichelbart, SJ from the National Palace Museum, Scott 3836
(click on image to see image enlarged as a scroll)

Ignatius Sichelbart (Chinese name Ai Ci-meng, style name Sing-an) was a Jesuit brother, born in Neudeck, Bohemia (now the Czech Republic) on September 9, 1708, who became a Qing court painter in 1745 (during the reign of Emperor Quinlong), working in the palace along with his brother Jesuits Giuseppe Castiglione and Jean Denis Attiret. He died in Beijing on October 6, 1780. He was especially good at painting birds. Bailutu (or A Hundred Deer) depicts a group of deer in a great variety of poses. The full painting is printed in a se-tenant block of eight stamps, in five different sizes which allows the block to be broken up into compositionally coherent individual stamps. One is tempted, of course, to compare this with Castiglione's One Hundred Horses.

Brother Antonio Moscheni, SJ

Scott 1870
INDIA, 2001, Scott 1870

St. Aloysius College Chapel in Mangalore is decorated by the paintings — frescoes, tempera and canvas panels — of an Italian Jesuit Brother Antonio Moscheni, done from 1899 to 1901. Moscheni was born in Italy, in the village of Stezzano, in 1854. He studied at the Academia Carrara in nearby Bergamo. Decorating the Santuario della Madonna dei Campi in Bergamo was his first major work and brought him much fame, as did his exhibits in Milan in 1883 and Turin in 1884. In 1889 he entered the Jesuits, and was assigned to decorate several churches in Italy, Albania and Yugoslavia, before going to India. His paintings can be found in Holy Name Cathedral in Mumbai and the Santa Cruz Basilica in Cochin, where he fell sick and died, but St. Aloysius Chapel is his best work. The above stamp — issued on January 12, the day in 1880 that St. Aloysius College began — features a panel showing the early life of St. Aloysius.

Brother Martín Coronas Pueyo, SJ

Gálvez 142 
SPAIN, 1936, based on a Coronas' painting of Ignatius, Gálvez Specialized Catalog of Spain 142
Spanish cinderella, issued by the Mission Stamp Bureau in Madrid, based on a Coronas' painting of Xavier at Xavier castle

Coronas' other works decorate the novitiate at Veruela, the palace of the Duke of Gandía, the cave at Manresa, and other houses and churches of the Society of Jesus. He left more than 150 paintings, cartoons for tapestries, and other works, mostly of a religious or historical nature, especially on Jesuit saints and blesseds.

Fr. Marko Ivan Rupnik, SJ
(1954 -     )

Scott 1552 
VATICAN CITY, 2014, an Easter stamp featuring a detail of Rupnik's mosaic in the Redemptoris Mater Chapel of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace and its FDI cancel, Scott 1552

Marko Ivan Rupnik was born 28 November 1954 in Zadlog, Slovenia near Idrija. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1973, studied philosophy in Ljubljana and from 1977 to 1981 studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome. Then after theological studies at the Gregorian University, he was ordained in 1985. Remaining at the Gregorian, he began a specialization in missiology and received his doctorate in 1991, his dissertation being on the theological meaning of art in the writings of Vjaceslav Ivanovic Ivanov. From 1987 to 1991 he had lived in Gorizia at the Jesuit "Morning Star" Center where he worked mainly with youth. Since 1991 he has worked in Rome at the Centro Aletti, of which he is the director. He teaches at the Pontifical Oriental Institute, the Pontifical Gregorian University, Saint Anselm Pontifical Liturgical Institute, and gives lectures and seminars in numerous other institutions. His work as an artist, particularly in mosaics, has been prolific, widely exhibited and honored.

SLOVENIA, 2008, mosaic of Fr. Rupnik, personalized stamp St. Florian, patron of firefighters (2004), from the Church of St. Florian in Krnice, Slovenia

SLOVENIA, 2012, three personalized stamps showing mosaics which Fr. Rupnik did for the parish church of Zlato Polje (Field of Gold) in the town of Kranj, 20 km north of Ljubljana. The first shows Bishop Modest (patron of parish), the second the Christianization of the people of Slovenia, the third Christ as the central part of the mosaic.

SLOVENIA, 2016 a personalized stamp showing a mosaic of Fr. Rupnik combined with a cross in the Church of the Holy Cross in Ljubljana done for the 50th anniversary of the church.

VATICAN, 8 December 2015 special cancel from the start of the Holy Year of Mercy
showing an adapted detail from a Rupnik mosaic, taken as the logo for the Holy Year

Scott 4220 
2016, the design of this stamp is based on, but not identical with, the logo of the Holy Year of Mercy and also the mosaic at the church of the Ursuline Sisters, Daughters of Immaculate Mary, at Verona, both of which were created by Rupnik. The logo and mosaic show Christ as the Good Shepherd rescuing Adam and so humanity. The special cancel is based on the same design, Scott 4220

VATICAN CITY, 2016, four postal cards (below) to celebrate the Jubilee Year of Mercy reproduce Rupnik's mosaics: the enclosure features the Descent from the Cross (Pieta) and the imprinted stamp on each card (of different denominations) the Descent into Hell (rescuing Adam and Eve) on which is based the logo for the Holy Year of Mercy.

The mosaics featured include the Healing of the Paralytic (€ 0.95); the Healing of the Blind Man (€ 1.00);

the Forgiveness of the Adulterous Woman ( 2.30); and the Healing of the Man Born Blind ( 3.00).