Raphael, my love!

OF GOALS AND MEANS

A. INTRODUCTION

    Have you recently visited a philatelic exhibition? I have, even many of them, searching for interesting exhibits that cover my domain of interests. The reaction of people was also important for me, so I looked attentively around me and sometimes spoke to visitors. I noticed that the exhibits were rather of interest for knowledgeable stamp collectors and much less to beginners or people who entered just to see what is it about. But I saw also some exceptions. For example in a smaller exhibition, a collection of animals on stamps, presented aside from the official competition, was shown in a corner, and there I saw a lot of people, especially young ones, looking attentively and discussing the presented material.
    The reasons for this situation is that what is mostly seen at topical exhibitions are cancels, cancels and cancels again, much more than nice stamps. Because most of topical stamps are obtainable by anybody with some resources and some patience, what can differentiate the exhibitors in competitions are rather the special cancellations than the stamps, that's why the stamps themselves have the tendency to disappear from the topical exhibition panes.
    My site has the goal to show something what is less seen in philatelic exhibitions: Nice stamps, usual FDCs, postally issued  maximum cards. I try to display the stamps as near as possible to their originals, in what concern their dimensions and colors.

B. WHICH IS THE MEANING OF "ARTS ON STAMPS"?

    This site is consecrated to so called visual arts, more specifically to the art of painting, drawing, sculpting, pottery, tapestry, enamel, stained glass on stamps and others.
    Arts on Stamps is a subtopic of the Topical Stamp Collecting. Therefore one can find on my site a limited number of pages dedicated to the mentioned subtopic ( + tips for beginners, other topical stamps)
    The Topical Stamp Collection is a part of the Stamp Collecting generally. For this reason some pages deal with such subjects as Universal Postal Union, classical philately, etc. 

C. THE SUBJECTS ON THIS SITE

    1. General subjects (in The General Part): Introduction, What's New on the site, The Paintings and Arts on Stamps, Internet Club (Bylaws, Members List, Journal), Tips, UPU, London-90 Exhibition, etc.
    2. Art Gallery. There are two obvious possibilities to order the stamps in a collection: By Subjects and by Countries. In the Art Gallery the stamps are displayed by subjects (subtopics). A subtopic can be more general, like Children's Paintings on Stamps or more specific, like Love on Stamps. A big chapter is the the Museum topics, covering the great museums worldwide. The subject Art Gallery was the first one shown on this site, because through it I have achieved the main goal of this site: to show appealing stamps and by this way to attract cybernauts to stamp collecting.
    3. Countries. This is a more structured approach, starting with the countries of origin for different artists or artistic movements. When there is sufficient material, the first page about a given artist starts with stamps issued by the country where he was born, eventually followed by stamps of countries where his works are kept. Toward the end, some nice topical stamps or views of the given country can be displayed too.
    4. Thematic Collecting is a new section, covering subjects of general interest for the mentioned domain.
    5. My Column section refers to my interests in different fields: philosophy, politics, ethics, literature, music, sport and others and, when possible, shows their relationship with the stamp collecting. Also the mail that I have received and my activity on philatelic newsgroups are placed here.

D. THE STRUCTURE OF THE SITE

     The structure of the site follows closely the subjects enumerated earlier through the tree navigation displayed in the left vertical frame. The links are presented in a hierarchical structure, similar to the directory structure of the Windows Explorer. The first level of links points to the main subjects (The General Part, Art Gallery, Countries, My Column and a link back to the Homepage). The second and third level of links point to specific pages. The Site's Map page could be useful for the general orientation.

Notice 

If the described menu structure is not displayed, then possibly the Java Virtual Machine isn't present. It can be freely downloaded over Internet. Should it be impossible, another solution, using JavaScript and buttons, was implemented as follows:

    1. A TOP horizontal frame contains buttons (links) to the main subjects (Main TOC, Art Gallery, Countries, My Column and a link back to the Homepage). The Homepage is the entry point of the site and allows for choosing contents in four languages: English, French, German and Romanian. 
    2. By clicking on any of the TOP buttons, the content of the LEFT vertical frame changes, by displaying a list of subtopics, each having a button assigned to it. At the same time a default page (with short explanations concerning the subject) is displayed in the Main frame.
    3. At each click on the buttons in the Left frame the contents of the Main frame changes accordingly to the chosen button. 

For the computer systems that don't accept Java Scripts, there is a third navigation mean, implemented as a succession of pages. The  pages displayed in the Main frame have at bottom an array of links and a Next Page button. Clicking on them display the pages on the full screen (see below for more information).

Please notice that only the menu structure based on the tree navigation (a Java applet) allows for the visiting of the whole site. All other methods display only a limited part of the site.

E. HARDWARE REQUIREMENTS

    On of the main goals of the present site is to display the Arts Stamps as near as possible to their originals. That means that the stamps should have as much as possible the same dimensions and colors on the screen as in reality and to fit on the screen the same way they fit on a usual stockboard page. Which implies the necessity to have enough width to fit together at least four big format stamps (like those from the French Art set), together with the left, menu frame.
    Due to different display resolutions and monitor sizes, a compromise solution had to be searched for and was finally found. It is the minimal display resolution of 1024 * 768 with 65536 colors, combined with a 17" CRT display (or a 15" LCD one). Even if it seem to be a rather high-end demand, it isn't really so high. Many users have already the hardware for this resolution, but still stick with the old 800 * 600 one. 
    Actually the proposed resolution is not mandatory, but at a resolution of 800 * 600 or lower the visitor should expect the following disadvantages: 1. Big navigation links or big buttons, taking too much place on the screen, 2. Sometimes the necessity to scroll the main window in order to see the whole page, 3. The pages will not fit on paper at printing.
    If you cannot change the display resolution and you find the browsing experience unpleasant, click the button
below to navigate in a frameless version. By clicking on the same button, you can run through the most of this site in a sequential fashion. By clicking the   button, you can jump to the next main subject.

F. THE MATERIAL USED ON THIS SITE

    As material I mainly use postal stamps, souvenir sheets, First Day Covers and Maximum Cards from my own collection. Sometimes I use, with permission, scans sent to me by other stamp collectors. When appropriate, I also use scans of some postal cards that originate in my collection too.
    I try to use in description a comprehensible style and for this reason I have adopted for certain definitions the popular reference work Microsoft Encarta, the 1996 World Edition.

G. THE ARTS ON STAMPS DATABASE

    It took a long time to put together the information stored in the present database. I used as a references the Stanley Gibbons "Stamps of the World" catalogues, the Stanley Gibbons "British Commonwealth" catalogue, the Zumstein catalogue and since Jan. 1999 the Scott and Michel Catalogues. Not all Art Stamps are listed in the database yet. The reason is the time needed to identify all stamps and to enter the information. Nevertheless over 95% of all Paintings on Stamps issued worldwide till now are already listed.
    The database has the big advantage that it can be used as an Inventory List too.
   
My actual goal is to complete the database with the names of all important artists whose masterpieces are displayed on stamps (a big work!) and then to offer the possibility of an on-line querying (searching after desired criteria) of the mentioned database. This way stamp collectors can filter-out the issues of interest, in order to know what exists in their field and then to look into catalogues or elsewhere for more information. In the new or updated records all important painters names are treated in a systematic way, for each entered set.
    The idea of this database is not to replace the catalogues, but to add what they are missing, i.e. a search & select function and an inventory list.
    In this important work I am fortunately helped by some PASIC members. For more information about the database please consult the texts under the menus Download DB and PASIC Journal.

H. THE PAINTINGS AND ARTS ON STAMPS INTERNET CLUB

    This club was created in 1997 and is very successful, counting in Aug. 2000 over 200 members form 50 countries. Even if some members are rather passive, many of them trade stamps with each other and have established a friendly and helpful relationship. PASIC has a formal organization and was admitted as an affiliated member by the American Topical Association and by the Panhellenic Society of Thematic Philately. The new members can register themselves on-line. The data entered on-line are stored in a database on the server. A new Discussion Forum facilitates the contacts among the members of the club. For more information please consult the PASIC related pages on this site.

Revised: 12/04/08. Copyright 1997 - 2000 by Victor Manta, Switzerland. All rights reserved in all countries.

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