The Fabrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre (FNMT), in conjunction with the Real Casa de la Moneda, have announced (30th June) the upcoming issue of their latest collection, “Treasures of the Spanish Museums.” The collection is the third of its kind and will include five coins, each issued in gold and silver. This year’s collection sees some of Spain’s most beloved and well-known masterpieces captured in precious metals, meticulously detailed and engraved. A total of 12 paintings, many of them displayed in Spain’s various national museums throughout the country, have been selected. For the third issue of this very popular series, the Real Casa de la Moneda have chosen masterpieces from five of Spain’s most celebrated artists: Goya, Arcimboldo, Velázquez, Rubens, Tintoretto and Madrazo. One gold coin of 400 Euro (8 Escudos), a large silver coin of 50 Euro or Cincuentin, and three crown-sized silver coins traditionally recognised as 8 Reales, compose this impressive collection.
400 Euro: Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (1746 – 1828) The obverse depicts The Burial of the Sardine (1814-1816). Painted in mahogany, this is one of the most highly acclaimed works of Goya’s career for its enigmatic nature. It shows two beautiful women in white dresses and pretty masks dancing happily, accompanied by two men and two disturbing figures who threaten one of the dancers. Presiding over the festival, we have the mocking, ironic face of the god Momus, traditionally linked to Carnival. The reverse includes Ferdinand VII on Horseback (1808). This image depicts King Ferdinand, who emerged as Spain’s monarch after the Peninsula War, on horseback, wearing the uniform of Captain General with dark frock coat, riding boots, two-cornered hat, baton and medals, and the sash of the Order of Charles III. The horse is lifting up its front legs in a prance. For this portrait, Goya requested that the King pose for him in person. After sitting for the portrait, Ferdinand VII left Spain and did not return until 1814, when he was finally able to see the painting for the first time.
50 Euro: Giuseppe Arcimboldo (1527 – 1593) and Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (1599 – 1660) The first coloured coin ever produced by the Spanish Royal Mint, the obverse reproduces Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s masterpiece The Spring (1563), in which the mannerist painter composed a human portrait with spring flowers and plants. From the hat to the neck, every part of the portrait, even the lips and nose, is composed of flowers, while the body is made of plants. The reverse shows a drawing by Velazquez for his lost portrait of Cardinal Borja (1643-1645). The Cardinal, verging on old age, is seen wearing the biretta and cape of his high office. The head gives the beholder the enduring satisfaction that comes from complete confidence in the artist having expressed precisely and significantly the thing he intended to convey.
10 Euro: Sir Peter Paul Rubens (1577 – 1640) The obverse of the first 10 Euro coin reproduces Rubens’s Susanna and the Elders (c. 1610), inspired by the Book of Daniel. Susanna is falsely accused by lecherous voyeurs as she bathes in her garden. The two lustful elders threaten to claim that she was meeting a young lover in the garden unless she agrees to submit to them. She refuses to be blackmailed, and is about to be put to death for promiscuity, when a young man named Daniel interrupts the proceedings, shouting that the elders should be questioned to prevent the death of an innocent. The false accusers are put to death and virtue triumphs. The reverse includes Saint Augustine between Christ and the Virgin (ca. 1615). Inspired by the Augustine of Hippo’s Soliloquies, Rubens represents St. Augustine’s love for Christ and the Virgin Mary. The saint is depicted wearing the robe of his monastic rule, along with the mitre and ceremonial staff he donned as Bishop of Hippo Regius (modern-day Annaba, Algeria). St. Augustine kneels down on some volumes, alluding to the fact that he is one of the most prolific Latin authors in terms of his surviving works.
10 Euro: Tintoretto (born Jacopo Comin) (1518 – 1594) The Rape of Helen (ca. 1578). This painting recounts Helen of Troy, daughter of Zeus and Leda, languishing in the corner of a land-sea battle scene. In classical Greece, her abduction by—or elopement with—Paris, Prince of Troy, was a popular motif. In medieval illustrations this event was frequently portrayed as a seduction, whereas in Renaissance painting it is usually depicted as a rape by Paris. The reverse includes the exquisite depiction of Moses Saved From the Waters (1552-1555). It is one of seven paintings from Tintoretto designed to be seen together at a certain height, laid out on canvases conceived as inclined planes that converged on a central painting. Clearly, this group was intended for a profane setting. The biblical themes had lost their dramatic character and were little more than an excuse to depict exotic clothing, courtly ceremonies and a degree of acceptable nudity.
10 Euro: Federico de Madrazo (1781 – 1859) Depicted on the obverse is Madrazo’s Isabella II (1848), a portrait Spain’s second Queen Regnant and daughter of Ferdinand VII. Madrazo was Director of the Prado Museum, President of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, and the court painter to Queen Isabella II. One of his best portraits of the Queen is reproduced with her royal dignity enhanced by the attributes of sovereignty: the scepter in her right hand and the Royal Crown resting on a cushion. The reverse displays The Great Captain (1835). Here, Madrazo shows Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, el Gran Capitán (the Great Captain), the moment after he defeated the French army in the Battle of Cerignola. He finds the corpse of Louis d’Armagnac, leader of the French troops, who in the past had been his friend and ally. Unlike other paintings of contemporary history, this one takes no joy in victory, and the only evidence of the battle is the smoking background.
|10 EURO X 3||.925 silver||27 grams||40 mm.||Proof||7500 pieces ea.|
|50 EURO||.925 silver||168.7 grams||73 mm.||Proof & colour||4000 pieces|
|400 EURO||.999 gold||27 grams||38 mm.||Proof||2000 pieces|
The series is available to collectors as individually presented items or as a set of five coins. The “Museum Treasures” collection is available from the 6th July. For more information on these and other coins offered by the Real Casa de la Moneda, please visit the website of the FNMT at:https://tienda.fnmt.es/fnmttv/b2c/display/%28xcm=Z_TIENDA&layout=6_1_75_64_6_2&uiarea=2&ctype=catalogEntry&carea=0000000091%29/.do Information offered in English & Spanish, international orders dispatched where applicable.