Marianne? A new version on the stamp

First of all who the à#@H!! is Marianne?

MarianneShe is one of the symbols, one of the incarnations of France! If you take a minute to look around you’ll find her everywhere. On coins, stamps, a bust in every town hall, in sculpture such as in the Pantheon, on official stationery and tax documents as part of the logo of the Republic. There is even a magazine called Marianne, which is independent from the government. She is a version of Lady Liberty and wears a phyrgian cap and sort of Grecian robes usually over one shoulder. The capped female allegory was first used in France at the time of the Revolution to symbolize Liberty. How she got to be called Marianne is uncertain. We do know though that Marie and Anne were very common first names during the 18th century and the contraction often referred to “the people”. Under the Third Republic (1870 and forward) statues and busts of Marianne popped up in nearly every town hall. Sometimes she was sculpted with a diadem or crown rather than the revolutionary phrygian cap. The face of Marianne today is based on that of prominent women such as Brigitte Bardot, Catherine Deneuve and Laetitia Casta who are chosen by the Association of Mayors of France. This search shows a nice selection of Marianne images.

In July, President Macron unveiled the new postage stamp with his choice of Marianne as is the tradition, since the beginning of the Fifth Republic, for each presidential mandate. She’s called the « Implicated Marianne » and represents the nature of his presidency as he sees it. She is, according to the Elysée, « une Marianne déterminée, énergique, qui est ancrée dans le XXIe siècle et qui se projette dans l’action » (A determined, energetic Marianne, anchored in the  21st century who throws herself into the action). The drawing – with exuberant hair, a bit Medusa like – is by a Franco-English artist named Yseult Digan, who is more well known for her street art portraits of proud women under the  pseudonym « YZ ». Several different renderings of Marianne were submitted to the « pupilles de la nation » by President Macron who asked them to vote on their preferred image. (Un pupille is a ward of the state, originally a war orphan. They are minors or orphans under 21 years old who benefit from special protections and privileges. Many of them are the children of soldiers or police officers. They receive financial and fiscal benefits to support them while growing up.) Once the choice of the artwork was made Elsa Catelin, an engraver specializing in postage stamps, made the tiny stamp version.


The original artwork for the stamp by Yzeult Digan aka YZ in her street art days.

The Marianne stamp has had 29 different versions since it was created 169 years ago. Previous stamps underlined characteristics of Youth in 2013, Europe in 2008, Nature in 2003…


Marianne stamps throughout the ages courtesy of La Poste

Read about the other emblems and symbols of France.

26 octobre 2018 15 h 35 min

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