I know this week's title is a bit misleading because I wasn't planning to write about José Moreno Benavente's final portrait, only about the final one I'll be showing. But just in case you were hoping to get told which stamp portrait exactly was his latest: it's the portrait of Alonso de Ercilla y Zúñiga, which can be found on the 1972 isue to mark the 400th anniversary of the epic poem La Aracauna. And here it is:
Actually, I think it's a beauty and absolutely one of Moreno's most striking portraits and stamps.
Right, now that that's out of the way, let's move on to the portraits I had planned to show you: those of the Chilean independence leader Bernardo O'Higgins. As usual, we find an array of versions of what is probably O'Higgins' best-known portrait. Moreno's first version appeared in 1945, as part of a set marking the centenary of O'Higgins' death (which, by the way, was in 1942).
It is a fairly small stamp and the complete three-quarters portrait is included so necessarily the details are sketchy. A much more satisfying attempt was made in 1960, for a stamp used in the large set to mark the 150th anniversary of the First National Government.
The same portrait was used again on a 1/2 escudo banknote from the 1962 series.
Only slightly larger than the previous stamp portrait, it is remarkably
similar, but am I imagining it or does the banknote portrait actually
look you in the eyes? Have a closer look:
Somehow my favourite O'Higgins portrait by Moreno is the one used for a 10,000 escudos banknote from the 1967 series.
Maybe it's because it's a welcome change from the over-used previous portrait, but I find it a very impressive piece of work.
Anyway, I think I've milked the Moreno portrait theme enough now so I'll say no more on the subject, though I may well return in the near future with a series on Moreno's battle scenes, which will prove just as enticing!