He comes in colors everywhere: Czech president releases official postage stamp and portrait

Although originally refusing an official portrait, Petr Pavel changed his mind due to high demand.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 03.05.2023 16:00:00 (updated on 03.05.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

President Petr Pavel now has an official portrait and soon his face will adorn Czech postage stamps. He presented the official portrait, which will be available with 10 different color backgrounds or in black and white, this morning. There is also a new portrait of Pavel with the first lady, Eva Pavlová.

The stamps will be available for purchase from June 7 for CZK 23 each, or CZK 230 for a sheet with all 10 colors. The initial print run of stamps will be 100,000 sheets totaling 1 million stamps.

The photos, which were taken by Jana Jabůrková and Jiří Turek from the J3T studio, are available for download on the Prague Castle website.

Petr Pavel and Eva Pavlová. Photo: Jana Jabůrková and Jiří Turek
Petr Pavel and Eva Pavlová. Photo: Jana Jabůrková and Jiří Turek

Early demand seems to have overwhelmed the site, which crashed shortly after the portrait became available. The photos will also be distributed by the Czech News Agency (ČTK) and printed portraits will be available for schools and offices from Sevt.cz.

Pavel said he originally did not intend to have a portrait or stamp. "It's not exactly a way of presentation that is my own. But when I saw the response from people who would like to have a portrait of the president in schools or in offices, I finally gave the green light to the creative team to take it on," he said in a press release.

Sheet of 10 stamps featuring President Petr Pavel. Photo: Česká pošta
Sheet of 10 stamps featuring President Petr Pavel. Photo: Česká pošta

He was happy with the result, which he described as modern and very civil. The colors used for the backgrounds are each associated with Czech places or traditions, the creative team stated. Names for the colors include "českomotorková" (Czech motorcycle) and "cibuláková" (blue onion).

A century of presidential portraits

ČTK or its predecessor has distributed the official presidential portrait since the beginning of the time of the First Republic. With a few exceptions, the agency also took the official portraits of the presidents for the past 100 years.

Official portrait in black and white. Photo: Hrad.cz
Official photograph in black and white. Photo: Hrad.cz

In the early years, ČTK received photo coverage directly from the Castle, and a substantial part of the presidential image documentation was transferred to its archive so that it could be more accessible to the media through the agency. Gradually, ČTK began to create pictorial documentation of the head of state itself, which also included official portraits.

Official photograph in color. Photo: Hrad.cz
Official photograph in color. Photo: Hrad.cz

This model changed with Václav Havel, who took office after the Velvet Revolution. The Presidential Office supplied ČTK with a photograph from Dušan Šimánek's workshop.

"Only the establishment of the Czech Republic in 1993 and the fact that Simanek's portrait existed only in a black-and-white version became the reason for the return of authorship to ČTK," Dušan Veselý, former editor-in-chief of the ČTK photo desk, said in his book "The President," which uses photographs to map Havel's tenure.

Former president Václav Klaus also had his portrait taken by ČTK. His successor Miloš Zeman entrusted the official portrait to photographer Herbert Slavík and ČTK ensured its distribution.

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