Powercoin wraps up it’s elegant ‘Eternal Sculptures’ series with a fifth release, The Three Graces by Antonio Canova

Sadly wrapping up after five brilliant issues, Powercoin have announced the last in their quite beautiful Eternal Sculptures series of 2oz silver coins. Taking some of the world’s greatest marble sculptures and depicting them both front and back on the two coin faces,these employ some fine minting techniques to pull it off in style, chief among them CIT/B.H Mayer’s proprietary Smartminting technology, soon to get a boost in ability.

As we’ve stated before, it’s clear that fine art is one of the numismatic worlds ‘go to’ subjects, and why not? The representations here are quite different from the usual copies of paintings that are so easy to do, with these large, three-dimensional works bringing a whole new level of challenge to their implementation on a small metal disc.

Finished in a marble-white colour against a black background, the statues are brought to life in ultra high-relief, not just on the reverse face, but on the obverse as well. It’s a little hard to see here, but check out our Coin Series Profile of this range where you can see some images of an earlier issue to get a good idea of what this one will look like in hand. The overall coin has a Black Proof finish.

This last coin depicts Antonio Canova’s widely loved statue of three female figures, called The Three Graces. Two copies of this work exist, an original sculpted for Napoleon Bonaparte’s other half, Josephine, and a slightly later version made for the Duke of Bedford. The one used here is probably the second, slightly superior (according to Canova) version as it has a round base – the one in the Hermitage Museum having a rectangular one. As someone who considers Rick & Morty fine art, however, you should probably take my opinion with n a pinch of salt.

Lovely coins and a good example of the inventive, yet fundamentally sound approach to coins taken by Powercoin. Their choice of subject and the ideas used to bring them to life are outstanding, and the employment of CIT to produce them an inspired one. A very elegant series that should have huge appeal to those who love their art reproduced in miniature. Available to order now for around €230, it again has a mintage capped at 999 pieces. A piano black box with a C.O.A. are included, of course.

THE THREE GRACES by Antonio Canova

Originally commissioned by Joséphine de Beauharnais, the famous French dictator, Napoleon’s first wife, The Three Graces is a 1.82m tall sculpture in white marble. Carved in Rome by the Italian sculptor Antonio Canova, it was completed in 1814 and now resides in the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg.

John Russell, the 6th Duke of Bedford, saw the almost completed statue in Canova’s studio and tried unsuccessfully to purchase it. So enamoured by the work, he had Canova make a second, slightly different version which was carved between 1815-1817. This version, said to be preferred by Canova, now resides in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, or the Scottish National Gallery (It is jointly owned). It originally sat in a custom built top-lit rotunda called the Temple of the Graces and was one of the most widely admired works of the time.

The ‘de Beauharnais’ version was carved in a veined marble, but the ‘Bedford’ version changed that to a clean white marble. Other differences were a change from a square to round base,and a slightly thicker waist on the central figure. They remain fundamentally the same, however.

The statue, in the Neoclassical style, depicts the three charities, Euphrosyne, Aglaea and Thalia, all daughters of Zeus. They were said to represent mirth (Euphrosyne), elegance (Aglaea), and youth/beauty (Thalia). They were said to have delighted the guests of the gods by presiding over events, like banquets, for example.

As for Canova, he remains admired as one of the greatest European artists of his day and his works some of the best of any period. Born on 1 November 1757, he died on 13 October 1822. He had an impressive career, working with many of the periods great figures, even sculpting aa statue of George Washington as a Roman Emperor that was unfortunately destroyed by fire in 1831.

After his death, his estate was used to complete the Tempio Canoviano where his body was interred, although his heart was interred at the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice, and his right hand preserved in a vase at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia. Every plaster model and sculpture from Canova’s Roman studio was removed and placed in the Tempio, which is sited on a hilltop in Possagno in the Province of Treviso.

COMPOSITION 0.999 silver
WEIGHT 62.2 grams
FINISH Black Proof
MODIFICATIONS Ultra-high-relief, colour
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes