Saturday, 12 October 2013

CIGANIK, Rudolf

Rudolf Ciganik (born 1961) was born in Handlova in what is now Slovakia. He studied metal and plastic engraving in Kremnica before moving on to the Academy of Fine Arts and Design at Bratislava where he refined his engraving techniques. In a very short space of time, he managed to earn himself a reputation as a great painter, sculptor and engraver.

After Czechoslovakia split up in the early 1990s, the Slovakian postal authorities approached Rudolf Ciganik whether he would be interested in engraving stamps for them. Ciganik gladly came on board and embarked on a very successful career as a stamp engraver, working alongside big names such as Bouda, Horniak and Cinovsky. His first engraved stamp for Slovakia was the 1993 Children’s book Illustrations issue. Soon Ciganik would be involved in engraving a stamp for the country’s first definitives as well.

In 1996, Rudolf Ciganik got the chance to design his first stamp. Issued in February, Ciganik designed, and engraved, the 3k value of the Anniversaries set, marking the death centenary of the writer Jozef Ciger-Hronsky.
A couple of years into the lifespan of the Slovakian postal authorities they contemplated changing stamp production from almost entirely recess-printed to the much cheaper and quicker process of printing in lithography. Needless to say this caused uproar among the organisation’s stamp engravers, with Ciganik championing the engravers’ cause.

To convince the authorities of the beauty of recess-printed stamps, and the high regard they’re held in all over the world, Ciganik produced what is now the largest unissued recess-printed stamp in the world: the stamp measures 60 cm2! Thankfully, the pro-intaglio faction won the day and the postal authorities settled for a combined stamp programme printed in either recess or lithography.

Having engraved over a hundred stamps so far, Ciganik managed to have much of his work lauded with accolades.

In 2000, his engraving of a stamp marking the History of Postal Law, helped it being declared the most beautiful Slovakian stamp of the decade. He did have to share this accolade with the designer Dusan Kallay of course. The appreciation for this stamp was not just a national affair, or even a European one. The whole philatelic world agreed that this was an outstanding piece of work.

More appreciation followed for a stamp set of 2002. This time, Rudolf Ciganik could take sole credit for all the praise, as he both designed and engraved the two stamps. It was a twin issue with the People’s Republic of China. One value depicted Bojnice Castle in Slovakia, and the other the Handan Terraces in China. The design of the stamps is very much like his non-stamp work, with his many lines resulting in what at first sight may seem an overly busy work, but it still manages to create a very atmospheric image. It’s also very remarkable that he managed to combine those two culturally diverse subjects into one coherent design.

The stamp design was received very well in both countries. In fact, it was so highly thought of in China that a plaque has now been put up at the Handan Terraces referring to this specific stamp issue!

A repeat performance was held in 2007, for the joint issue with Monaco. Again we see the very distinct style of Ciganik working wonders on stamp format.

Since 2009 Ciganik has been involved in engraving many of the values that making up the country’s new definitive set, showcasing the cultural heritage of Slovakia. These are less flamboyant than his own work but still show off Ciganik’s engraving talent. One of the most recent stamp designs from his hand is the 2011 stamp depicting the great bustard. This stamp proves that Ciganik’s signature style works well with many subjects, varying from manmade structures to the natural world.


This article was first published in Stamp and Coin Mart of August 2012 and is reproduced with their kind permission. 

STAMPS

1993
Slovakia, Book illustrations

1994
Slovakia, Birds
Slovakia, UPU
Slovakia, Horse race
Slovakia, Ships

1995
Slovakia, Europa
Slovakia, Definitive
Slovakia, Landlords association
Slovakia, Europa
Slovakia, Art

1996
Slovakia, Anniversaries
Slovakia, Eradication of poverty
Slovakia, Mammals
Slovakia, Mountain lakes
Slovakia, Stamp day
Slovakia, Olympic achievements

1997
Slovakia, National activists
Slovakia, Folk traditions
Slovakia, Folklore festival
Slovakia, Slovak year
Slovakia, Art
Slovakia, Ondrej Nepela

1998
Slovakia, Writers' anniversaries
Slovakia, Folk traditions
Slovakia, Kragujevac uprising
Slovakia, Anti-drugs
Slovakia, Art
Slovakia, Stamp day

1999
Slovakia, Anniversaries
Slovakia, Women's bonnets
Slovakia, Philharmonic orchestra
Slovakia, Songbirds
Slovakia, Art
Slovakia, Velvet revolution
Slovakia, Museum of Jewish culture

2000
Slovakia, Postal Law
Slovakia, Birth anniversaries
Slovakia, Basketball championship
Slovakia, Jan Holly
Slovakia, Timber bridge Klukava
Slovakia, Art
Slovakia, Stamp day

2001
Slovakia, Rococo mantle clock
Slovakia, Janko Blaho
Slovakia, Moravian rulers
Slovakia, Holocaust victims
Slovakia, Art

2002
China, Castles, joint issue with Slovakia
Slovakia, Castles, joint issue with China
Slovakia, Sled dog race championships
Slovakia, Europa
Slovakia, Butterflies
Slovakia, Koloman Sokol

2003
Slovakia, Kremnica definitive
Slovakia, Beethoven
Slovakia, European wildcat
Slovakia, Swimming championship
Slovakia, Art

2005
Czech Republic, Bells

2006
Slovakia, Museum treasures

2007
Slovakia, Dogs
Slovakia, Castles, joint issue with San Marino
Slovakia, Art

2008
Slovakia, Fire-fighting equipment
Slovakia, Art

2009
Slovakia, Definitives, 2c, 5c, 10c
Slovakia, Pond animals
Slovakia, Art

2010
Slovakia, President Gasparovic
Slovakia, Art, Mural painting
Slovakia, Muranska Plain

2011
Slovakia, Michal Miloslav Hodza
Slovakia, Great bustard
Slovakia, Art

2012
Slovakia, Definitive
Slovakia, Arts €1.20

2013
Slovakia, Lucnica art ensemble, joint issue with Korea
Slovakia, Matica slovenska foundation
Slovakia, Art
Slovakia, Stamp day

2014
Slovakia, Raffelstetten customs regulations
Slovakia, Art

2015
Slovakia, L'udovit Stur
Slovakia, Arts

OTHER PHILATELIC ENGRAVINGS

1993
Slovakia, FDC illustration Book illustrations

1994
Slovakia, FDC illustration Year of the family
Slovakia, FDC illustration Birds
Slovakia, FDC illustration UPU
Slovakia, FDC illustration Horse race

1995
Slovakia, FDC illustration Nature protection year
Slovakia, FDC illustration Anniversaries
Slovakia, FDC illustration Europa
Slovakia, FDC illustration Papal visit
Slovakia, FDC illustration Volleyball
Slovakia, FDC illustration Art

1996
Slovakia, FDC illustration Anniversaries (2 types)
Slovakia, FDC illustration Eradication of poverty
Slovakia, FDC illustration Mammals
Slovakia, FDC illustration Mountain lakes
Slovakia, FDC illustration Olympic achievements

1997
Slovakia, FDC illustration Activists
Slovakia, FDC illustration Folk traditions
Slovakia, FDC illustration Folklore festival
Slovakia, FDC illustration Slovak year
Slovakia, FDC illustration Art
Slovakia, FDC illustration Ondrej Nepela

1998
Slovakia, FDC illustration Independence
Slovakia, FDC illustration Writers
Slovakia, FDC illustration Folk traditions
Slovakia, FDC illustration Kragujevac uprising
Slovakia, FDC illustration Anti-drugs
Slovakia, FDC illustration Art
Slovakia, FDC illustration Stamp day

1999
Slovakia, Label on Stamp Day sheet
Slovakia, FDC illustration Anniversaries
Slovakia, FDC illustration Bonnets (2 types)
Slovakia, FDC illustration Philharmonic orchestra
Slovakia, FDC illustration First Slovak cosmonaut
Slovakia, FDC illustration Songbirds (3 types)
Slovakia, FDC illustration Art

2000
Slovakia, FDC illustration Anniversaries
Slovakia, FDC illustration Basketball championship
Slovakia, FDC illustration Jan Holly
Slovakia, FDC illustration Timber bridge
Slovakia, FDC illustration Christmas
Slovakia, FDC illustration Art
Slovakia, FDC illustration Stamp day
Slovakia, FDC illustration Postal law

2001
Slovakia, FDC illustration Clock
Slovakia, FDC illustration Janko Blaho
Slovakia, FDC illustration Moravian rulers (4 types)
Slovakia, FDC illustration Holocaust victims
Slovakia, FDC illustration Art

2002
Slovakia, FDC illustration Sled dog race
Slovakia, FDC illustration Europa
Slovakia, FDC illustration Butterflies (3 types)
Slovakia, FDC illustration Slovak-Chinese joint issue
Slovakia, FDC illustration Art
Slovakia, FDC illustration Stamp day

2003
Slovakia, FDC illustration 18k definitive
Slovakia, FDC illustration Beethoven
Slovakia, FDC illustration Wild cats (4 types)
Slovakia, FDC illustration Swimming championship
Slovakia, FDC illustration Art

2005
Slovakia, FDC illustration Horses

2006
Slovakia, FDC illustration Homeland beauties
Slovakia, FDC illustration Technical artefacts (2 types)

2007
Slovakia, FDC illustration Dogs (2 types)
Slovakia, FDC illustration Joint issue with San Marino
Slovakia, FDC illustration Art

2008
Slovakia, FDC illustration Technical monuments (2 types)
Slovakia, FDC illustration Art

2009
Slovakia, FDC illustration 5c definitive
Slovakia, FDC illustration Martial arts
Slovakia, FDC illustration Union of philatelists
Slovakia, FDC illustration President of republic
Slovakia, FDC illustration pond life (2 types)
Slovakia, FDC illustration Art

2010
Slovakia, FDC illustration President of Republic
Slovakia, FDC illustration Muranska plain
Slovakia, FDC illustration Art

2011
Slovakia, FDC illustration Slovak nation
Slovakia, FDC illustration Great bustard
Slovakia, FDC illustration Art (2 types)

2012
Slovakia, FDC illustration 80c definitive
Slovakia, FDC illustration Battle of Rozhanovce
Slovakia, FDC illustration Tatras national park (2 types)
Slovakia, FDC illustration Art

2013
Slovakia, FDC illustration National costumes
Slovakia, FDC illustration Korea joint issue
Slovakia, FDC illustration Matica slovenska foundation
Slovakia, FDC illustration Homeland beauties (2 types)
Slovakia, FDC illustration Art
Slovakia, FDC illustration Stamp day

2014
Slovakia, FDC illustration Stefan Osusky

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