450th Anniversary of the Death of Michelangelo
The Philatelic and Numismatic Office will dedicate this year's issue of 20 and 50 euro gold coins to Michelangelo Buanarroti on the occasion of the 450th anniversary of his death. With Leonardo and Raphael he represented the pinnacle of efforts starting at the end of the 13th century to reach perfection in form capable of exceeding that of the great masters of classical art. In addition to his unquestionable artistic talent, from the start Michelangelo demonstrated his strong character, which years later in Rome helped him in the four years of taking on the very challenging task of painting the five hundred square meters of the Sistine Chapel - the work most often associated to his name. One of the figures represented in the vault, the Libyan Sibyl, has been chosen by Antonella Napolione as the subject for the reverse side of the 50 euro coin. The Sibyl has one of the most complex poses, which became a model and source of inspiration for many Mannerists. On the reverse side of the 20 euro gold coin, Patrizio Daniele has depicted Michelangelo as an adolescent in the process of sculpting a block of marble. He is looking at the "Pietà", the work kept in the Basilica of St. Peter's in the Vatican, the first masterpiece of a 20-year old Michelangelo considered one of the greatest works of art. It is a "Pietà" which, beyond representing the bond with the Sacred, appears to be observing the scene, patiently waiting for the moment in which it will be "liberated". According to Michelangelo, the formidable task facing the sculptor is that of liberating the figure which already exists by taking away the excess stone. As is customary, the obverse side of both coins shows the face of the Holy Father, his profile in the representation by Napolione and a bust showing his hands in prayer in the depiction by Daniele. The artists depict the smile of Pope Francis in a subtle way which shows his unique expression which has become so dear to the faithful around the world.