Powercoin tackles the most iconic painting of all time with their second Micromosaic Passion coin

We were very impressed with Powercoin’s first Great Micromosaic Passion coin on its release earlier this year. The clever merging of a classic masterpiece with a faux mosaic strike, it had a visual style that was quite unique, and one that remains so for the debut of the second issue. Featuring the most famous painting in the world, the Mona Lisa, it remains close in subject to the 15th century work by Sandro Botticelli, the Birth of Venus, that adorned the first coin.

The Mona Lisa has appeared on coins many times in the past, most commonly as a straight colour reproduction, like AllCollects huge one-kilo rectangular issue. Numiscollect dabbled with a subtle re-imagining last year, but this new Palau issue is more extreme interpretation. The coin is three ounces of fine silver in weight, and expands out to an impressive 65 mm in diameter. Produced by CIT and struck by BH Mayer, it employs that duo’s proprietary Smartminting technology.

The design is a straightforward one. A close up of Lisa dominates, but it has been broken down into some 10,000 ‘mosaic segments’ – basically flowing grooves that follow the flow of the original painting. As we said in our look at the Birth of Venus coin, it’s a deceptively simple idea, but an extremely effective one. Te colour application looks worthy of particular praise given the complexity of the surface it is applied to. Just the issue date in Roman numerals is inscribed on this face, with the rest on the obverse – something regular readers will know we like to see.

The obverse is unchanged and will likely remain common to the series. A fine mosaic-style border with the series name inscribed in it surrounds the standard Palau shield emblem and is a mix of proof and matte finish. A rimless coin, the edge carries an engraved serial number stating which of the 499 coins you have.

The coin is presented in an unusual box that apes the look of a mosaic tile. A certicate of authenticity is enclosed with a number that matches the edge engraving. This is anoher attractive coin and one that makes a great change from the simple reproductions that are the norm with art coins. Shipping in late November, it’s available from Powercoin directly, or from several other dealers around the world.

THE MONA LISA by Leonardo da Vinci

Described as “the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world”, the Mona Lisa is also probably the most valuable. Conservative estimates have the painting valued at $800 million, although given recent mad prices at auctions around the globe, few would be surprised if it sold for $1 billion if it came up for auction. So what makes it special?

Painted by the Italian Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci in the first decade of the sixteenth century (although recent opinions argue it was a decade later), the 77 cm × 53 cm portrait in oil on poplar, is believed to be of the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, Lisa Gherardini. It was painted in the Italian city of Florence, but in 1518 it passed into the Royal Collection of the French monarch, Francis I. It is now on permanent display in the Musée du Louvre, Paris, where it has been since 1797.

The expression on the subjects face is where much of the paintings appeal lays, although it only took on its current lofty level in the popular conciousness in 1911, when it was stolen. Even the great painter Pablo Picasso, and the poet Guillaume Apollinaire, were suspects at one time, such was the level of intrigue, but it was an inside job and the work returned less than three years later.

The Mona Lisa bears a strong resemblance to many Renaissance depictions of the Virgin Mary, who was at that time seen as an ideal for womanhood. The woman sits markedly upright in a “pozzetto” armchair with her arms folded, a sign of her reserved posture. Her gaze is fixed on the observer. The woman appears alive to an unusual extent, which Leonardo achieved by his method of not drawing outlines (sfumato). The soft blending creates an ambiguous mood “mainly in two features: the corners of the mouth, and the corners of the eyes”. The painting was one of the first portraits to depict the sitter in front of an imaginary landscape, and Leonardo was one of the first painters to use aerial perspective.aris since 1797.

COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 93.3 grams
DIAMETER 65.00 mm
BOX / COA Yes / Yes