One of the most famous artists to come out of the Northern Renaissance, Albrecht Durer has a varied body of work covering a wide range of subjects, including portraits, religious works, and landscapes, but he is perhaps most noted for his work with woodcuts. A pioneer of their use, he used them to produce copies of his work that could then be spread amongst various buyers over Europe, and also for some striking original works.
Despite the excellence of his body of work, it’s a relatively obscure woodcut of a rhinocerous for which he is most famous, even defining what they looked like for most Europeans for a couple of centuries. There was a CIT-designed coin issued for the Cook Islands back in 2013 that reproduced it. The two new coins marking 550 years since the artists birth have both chosen to use one of his three self-portraits, although with different approaches.
Firstly, and most impressively, is Mint XXI’s effort, a two-ounce silver coin that is the third in their ‘World’s Greatest Artists’ series, following Leonardo da Vinci and Gustav Klimt. Like those, it features a high-relief depiction of the artist to one side, in this case based on a self-portrait of the young Durer in1498, the second of three ‘selfies’. The rest of the reverse face is filled with a coloured crop of his 1505 painting ‘Portrait of a Young Venetian Woman’.
The series common obverse returns, filled with geometric lines including what looks like a fibonacci sequence. On top of that is Ian Rank Broadley’s ‘Portrait of a Not-so Young British Woman’… Packaging is comprised of a wooden box with a C.O.A. and the mintage is set at 500 pieces. A very attractive series with a well balanced look and top quality strike. Available now.