The Vatican City State Mint has released (25th June) new commemorative €2 coins which are in celebration of the 450th anniversary of the birth of one of Italy’s most admired painters. Michelangelo Merisi, who was born in 1571, was called “il Caravaggio” after taking the name from the small town in the province of Bergamo where he lived as a child. His immense talent for painting is one of the highest expressions of art of all time, to this day regarded as both shocking and exciting. In total, 88 works of art that were attributed to Caravaggio survive with many on display in some of the world’s most prestigious museums with a significant number included in the collection of the Vatican.
Featured on the coin is the masterpiece entitled Boy with a Basket of Fruit, a work created by Caravaggio in 1593 and believed to have been a portrait of his friend and fellow artist, the Sicilian painter Mario Minniti (1577–1640), who was about 16 years old at the time. Caravaggio created this painting during his stay in Rome after having worked as an apprentice in artist Simone Peterzano’s studio in Milan. Although the work is an early one, he already demonstrated extraordinary imagery for his trademark analytical precision and the naturalistic sensitivity shown in the depiction of the basket of fruit and in the carefree yet wondrous expression on the young Minniti carrying the basket. This portrait certainly brought Caravaggio to the attention of his first important patron, Cardinal Francesco Maria Del Monte. Today, the painting is exhibited in the halls of the Borghese Gallery in Rome.
The two-euro coins are produced by the Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato (IPZS) in Rome and designed by artist Chiara Principe. The image on the obverse side of the coin features the masterpiece entitled Boy with a Basket of Fruit. Along the upper edge is the text CITTA DEL VATICANO and under the primary design is the inscription CARAVAGGIO 1571 – 2021. The reverse side is that of the standard euro-zone design for the two-euro coins, the numeral “2” superimposed over a map depicting Europe created by artist Luc Luycx.
|8 g||25.7 mm||FDC||
|8 g||25.7 mm||Proof||
The FDC version of the commemorative €2 coins is presented in a moiré-effect covered cardholder and accompanied by information about the coin.
The Proof versions are encapsulated and presented in a custom case accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. For further information, please contact Customer Care at or visit the website of the Philatelic and Numismatic Office of the Vatican City State.