Vermeer’s ‘Girl With a Pearl Earring’ receives the Micro-mosaic treatment on Powercoins latest

One of the more innovative and attractive classic art coin series, Micromosaic Passion from Powercoin and CIT is pretty simple at heart. If we were to say it’s a coloured silver coin you’d not think this was anything out of the ordinary, but the strike and the application of that colour, is quite unique. The coin is struck to mimic the look of a fine mosaic, in the case of this third outing for the series, some 7,000 of them.

The image of the artwork overlays the mosaic and fills the face of this rimless reverse. The 2019 coin takes Johannes Vermeer’s ultra-iconic ‘Girl With A Pearl Earring’ as its subject and the way the mosaic flows with the subject is quite beautiful. This is no simple grid of ’tiles’ covered in colour, but an intricately applied merging of the two elements. We like this one even better than Botticelli’s Birth of Venus (2017) and Michaelangelo’s Mona Lisa (2018).

The common series obverse has a fine mosaic-style border with the series name inscribed in it, which surrounds the standard Palau shield emblem, and is a mix of proof and matte finish. The edge has the serial number inscribed on it, and there will be a maximum of 499 coins struck. All told, the coin is a great example of the fine detail possible with CIT/BHM smartminting, and Powercoin were right to entrust the project to them.

Three ounces of fine silver in weight, these are large at 65mm in diameter. Packaged in a neat mosaic-tile style box, the whole thing is sure to appeal greatly to lovers of fine art numismatics – a popular subject if the number of issues on the subject is a reliable indicator. Shipping around the beginning of September, it’s available to pre-order right now.

GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING by Johannes Vermeer

Girl with a Pearl Earring is an oil painting by Dutch Golden Age painter Johannes Vermeer. Going by various names over the centuries, it became known by its present title towards the end of the 20th century after the large pearl earring worn by the girl portrayed there. The work has been in the collection of the Mauritshuis in The Hague since 1902 and has been the subject of various literary treatments. In 2006, the Dutch public selected it as the most beautiful painting in the Netherlands.

The painting is a tronie, the Dutch 17th-century description of a ‘head’ that was not meant to be a portrait. It depicts a European girl wearing an exotic dress, an oriental turban, and an improbably large pearl earring. In 2014, Dutch astrophysicist Vincent IckeĀ  raised doubts about the material of the earring and argued that it looks more like polished tin than pearl on the grounds of the specular reflection, the pear shape and the large size of the earring.

The work is oil on canvas and is 44.5 cm high and 39 cm wide. It is signed “IVMeer” but not dated. It is estimated to have been painted around 1665.

After the most recent restoration of the painting in 1994, the subtle colour scheme and the intimacy of the girl’s gaze toward the viewer have been greatly enhanced. During the restoration, it was discovered that the dark background, today somewhat mottled, was initially intended by the painter to be a deep enamel-like green. This effect was produced by applying a thin transparent layer of paint, called a glaze, over the present-day black background. However, the two organic pigments of the green glaze, indigo and weld, have faded.

SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION $20 Palau
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 93.3 grams
DIAMETER 65.00 mm
FINISH Proof
MODIFICATIONS Colour
MINTAGE 499
BOX / COA Yes / Yes