A big hit over the last few years, both with collectors and award ceremonies, Powercoins innovative Micromosaic Passion series is back for a fourth time with a second interpretation of the work of Italian Renaissance master, Leonardo da Vinci. This time, it’s the charming portrait of Cecilia Gallerani called Lady with an Ermine. Any similarities with Doctor Evil holding Mr Bigglesworth are purely coincidental…

The deceptively clever painting is reproduced in the series signature style, as a fine mosaic. Upping the number of small tiles to 8,000 this time, the mosaic tiles are not a simple grid, but have been expertly woven to follow the form of the subject. It’s quite exquisite in implementation. Despite at first glance being a simple colour reproduction of the original, a closer examination reveals a wealth of subtle detail. The mosaic tile patterned border obverse that has remained common to the series is back, complete with the national shield emblem of Palau at its centre. The mosaic theme continues on to the good quality packaging with its unusual shape, and there’s a certificate, of course.

Limited to just 499 quick selling pieces, each 3 oz fine silver piece is an impressive 65mm in diameter, employing CIT and BH Mayers highly regarded Smartminting for maximum fine detail over that expansive surface. A simple idea, beautifully realised, we’re admirers of this series, and if the aftermarket is any indicator, collectors are too. Available to order now, with shipping around the end of September.

LADY WITH AN ERMINE by Leonardo da Vinci

Painted by the Renaissance Italian artist in 1489-90, Lady with an Ermine is a 54 x 39 cm painting in oils on a walnut wood canvas. Da Vinci is only known to have painted four portraits of women, including the legendary Mona Lisa, so this one is a rarity. The subject of the painting is Cecilia Gallerani, the mistress of his patron, Ludovico Sforza, a man that would go on to become Prince of Milan, and who commissioned, amongst other works, the famous The Last Supper painting, also by Leonardo.

Despite on first glance appearing to be a simple portrait, it follows Leonardo’s lifelong interest in depicting the dynamics of movement. Here, Gallerani is shown turning to her left as if listening to someone in that direction, and uses a compositional technique comprising a pyramidic spiral. She is shown in three-quarter profile, something also innovated by Da Vinci, and holding an Ermine, a white-coated stoat.

In 1798, Prince Adam George Czartoryski, a Polish nobleman with an interesting history of his own, purchased the painting, incorporating it into the Czartoryski family collections at Puławy. Over the following centuries, it was repeatedly rescued from invaders – the Russians in 1830, and the Nazi’s in 1946. Returning to Kraków it was kept on display until moving to the newly reopened Czartoryski Museum on 19 December 2019. It was purchased, along with the rest of the collection, in 2016 by the Polish government for €100 million. Thanks to the coronavirus, it’s probably been seen by 3 people since… 😉

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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