Russia, 1921

This is one of my all-time favorite stamps. Keep in mind that this is all done with only black ink, in a space that’s 1.5″ by .5″, and yet the detail and lighting, the sense of depth and motion is just breathtaking. Our handsome young hero, after a long night’s battle, has vanquished the dragon. He looks up to greet the dawn of a new day, free from the terror and tyranny of the dragon.

Of course, this is another stamp that’s probably best without knowing the historical context. It’s from Russia, 1921, a few years after the October Revolution and just one year before the formation of the USSR. Most likely it’s shameless propaganda, and not an illustrating a classic folk tale. No matter. It has a timeless, mythic quality that transcends its original intent to become a masterpiece of illustration.

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