VATICAN CITY, MAR 31, 2005 (VIS) - The Philatelic and Numismatic Office of the Governorate of Vatican City on April 5 will issue 300,000 sets of four stamps, each stamp featuring a detail from the painting, "Resurrection of Christ" by Perugino, and 120,000 copies of a leaflet featuring the Risen Christ, the central part of the painting. The series of four stamps costs 3.02 Euro and the leaflet is 2.80 Euro.

Pietro Vannucci, known as Perugino, painted the altarpiece of the Resurrection of Christ during a period of only two months in 1499 as a decoration for a noble family's chapel in the Church of San Francesco al Prato in Perugia. It remained in its original position until 1797 when Napoleon moved it to Paris. In 1815 it was returned to what was then the Papal State based on the Congress of Vienna agreements.

The painting was exhibited in different locations in the new Vatican Picture Gallery, which was founded by Pope Pius VII in 1816. It remained there until 1964 when Pope Paul VI wanted it to adorn the back wall of the library of the papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace. Since then, Perugino's "Resurrection of Christ" has served as the solemn and significant backdrop to many audiences of pontiffs, especially visiting heads of state or government and new ambassadors who present their Letters of Credence to the Holy Father, thereby becoming one of the best-known paintings in the extensive artistic patrimony of the Church.

On April 28, the Vatican's Euro coins marking the 27th year of the Pontificate of His Holiness John Paul II will go on sale. The BU series of 8 coins costs 23 Euro whereas the proof version, which also includes a medal of this pontificate, costs 125 Euro.
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