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Republic Busts SI

Republic Busts

The female figure as a symbol of the Portuguese Republic was widely divulged at the start of the new political regime established in Portugal in 1910. The bust of the Republic was indeed one of the symbols that gained greatest visibility, especially after 1912 when its presence became mandatory in all public buildings and after it was adopted as effigy on wide circulation coins.

Although there were several artistic versions of the busts of the Republic, the more widely known and divulged were the ones that won the 1st and 2nd places in a contest promoted by the City Council of Lisbon in 1911 with the aim of selecting the one that was to become the “official bust”. Their authors were the sculptors Francisco dos Santos (1878-1930) and Simões de Almeida Sobrinho (1880-1950), respectively.

The Portuguese Mail Service, that since 2007 has evoked on stamps some of the most representative themes of the ephemeris that the Country will celebrate in 2010, proposed to contemporaneous artists to do a free reinterpretation of the traditional bust of the Republic. This issue translates the result of that challenge (through the reproduction of the artistic creations of André Carrilho, Bento Condado, Costa Pinheiro, João Abel Manta, João Machado, Júlio Pomar and Luís Macieira) and also includes one a copy of the “historic” piece signed by Francisco Santos, that won the open tender in 1911.

Although it has fallen into disuse, the bust of the Republic is still interpreted as the personification of the republican regime, spontaneously evoking its values and noblest ideals, synthesized in the inspiring motto-program of the French Revolution: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity. As a matter of fact, the choice of the female figure as an image representing the Republic and the Motherland, although it has quite remote origins, refers to the French example, including the adoption of its attributes, viz. the Phrygian cap and the laurel branch, icons of Liberty and Victory that also bear a remote historic resonance.

Technical Details

Issue Date: 24.06.2010
Designer: Atelier Acacio Santos/ Helder Soares
Printer: Cartor Security Printing
Process: Offset lithography
Colours: 4-colour offset
Size: 30.6 x 40mm
Values: ?3,76, ?5,06
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