Powercoins ‘Eternal Sculptures’ series returns with ‘Moses’, and with a new style and increased weight

Whatever your views on religion, it’s inarguable it has inspired some great works of art. Biblical figures have always been the subject of choice for the great Renaissance Masters, and the legendary Michelangelo Buonarroti was no exception. One of his finest works was a sculpture of Moses, created in 1513-15 for the tomb of Pope Julius II, who died before seeing the work. Originally, the tomb was to be a magnificent structure, decorated with 40+ sculptures, but successive cuts led to a dramatic downsizing – effectively becoming a simplified wall tomb (although Julius was never buried there) in the church of San Pietro in Vincoli on the Esquiline in Rome.

The highlight of the tomb is Michelangelo’s ‘Moses’, a 235 cm tall marble sculpture that even the artist himself considered one of his finest. It’s an incredible work. As someone who spent 30+ years working with marble, I can truly appreciate the breathtaking talent required to reproduce the hair, flowing robes, and musculature of the subject, difficult even with today’s technology. Hard to believe it’s half a millennium in age.

Moses (1513-15) von Michelangelo Buonarroti,

Jörg Bittner Unna, 'Moses' by Michelangelo JBU360, CC BY 3.0

The contemporary author and artist, Giorgio Vasari, described it thus, “Michelangelo finished the Moses in marble, a statue of five braccia, unequalled by any modern or ancient work. Seated in a serious attitude, he rests with one arm on the tablets, and with the other holds his long glossy beard, the hairs, so difficult to render in sculpture, being so soft and downy that it seems as if the iron chisel must have become a brush. The beautiful face, like that of a saint and mighty prince, seems as one regards it to need the veil to cover it, so splendid and shining does it appear, and so well has the artist presented in the marble the divinity with which God had endowed that holy countenance.

The draperies fall in graceful folds, the muscles of the arms and bones of the hands are of such beauty and perfection, as are the legs and knees, the feet were adorned with excellent shoes, that Moses may now be called the friend of God more than ever, since God has permitted his body to be prepared for the resurrection before the others by the hand of Michelangelo. The Jews still go every Saturday in troops to visit and adore it as a divine, not a human thing.”

Powercoin’s ‘Eternal Sculptures’ series debuted in 2016, and ran through five issues, with a single special rounding it off. Those coins were two-ounces of silver in weight, with a black proof finish, and had the sculpture finished in a whitish ‘marble-effect’ colouration. For their latest ‘Eternal Sculptures II’, the weight has been bumped up to three-ounces, and the white finish has given way to a clean ‘metallic marble’ look. The advantages of this are not only an increase in diameter from 39 mm to 50 mm, but also larger and more expansive levels of high-relief. The downside, however, is a higher price.

The coin is stunning. Rather than try to reproduce the whole work this time, we get a partial look on the reverse face, and a close-up in detail on the obverse. Both look like they’re doing full justice to the source material. The borders on both faces return, offering a strong visual link to the first series. The series logo is now a small privy ‘David’, rather than the ‘Venus de Milo’, a nod to the move from female to male sculptures for series II. A fine debut for the return of a much-admired coin series. Available to order from today.

SPECIFICATION
DENOMINATION $20 Palau
COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 93.3 grams
DIMENSIONS 50.0 mm
FINISH Black proof
MODIFICATIONS Ultra high-relief, Smartminting
MINTAGE 499
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes