Renaissance master Tintoretto adorns Italy’s gold entrant in the 2019 Europa Star Programme

Tintoretto, born in 1518 as Jacopo Comin, was an Italian painter noted for the speed he painted, and the sheer boldness of his brushwork. Nicknamed Il Furioso for the energy he imparted into his work, he was a painter of the Venetian school and one that divided contemporary opinions. His work was characterised by his muscular figures, dramatic gestures and bold use of perspective, in the Mannerist style. As you can see from his own interpretation of The Last Supper further down, his work was quite different from the formal, technical style of other masters like Leonardo da Vinci.

As part of the annual Europa Star coin programme, which this year has the Renaissance as its subject, the Italian Mint (IPZS) is releasing a gold coin to mark 500 years since his birth in Venice. There seems to be some variance in his actual date of birth, but the Italians are obviously going with 1519, so here we are. The reverse face depicts a chunk of one of Tintoretto’s most admired works, ‘Susanna and the Elders’. Strangely, the ‘Elders’ in the title are absent, even though one of them would fall inside the area chosen to be reproduced, but what is present seems well realised.

Susanna and the Elders was painted around 1555-56 and depicts a biblical scene from the Book of Daniel. Showing the titular Susanna preparing to bathe, the young married woman is spied upon by two elderly pervs, friends of her husband. They desire to be alone with her and are waiting for the opportunity to approach. It is considered a Renaissance masterpiece.

The obverse has the Europa Star symbol, inside which is a female personification of Italy. It’s actually a fine design for a standard obverse, although obviously not the main subject of the issue. Struck to a proof finish in approximately a fifth ounce of 0.900 gold, the coin comes presented in a box with a certificate of authenticity. The mintage is set at 1,000 pieces and it will be available for sale from the 18th June for €315.00. Fans of fine art and the works of Tintoretto, will be pleased to know an exhibition of his work is underway  at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, and there are numerous events in Venice as well. His works can be seen in many galleries around the world, this particular work being located in Vienna at the Kunsthistorisches Museum.


REVERSE: detail from “Susanna and the Elders” by Jacopo Robusti, known as ‘Tintoretto’, a painting which is one of the most famous works of this Renaissance painter (Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna). On the left, the name “TINTORETTO”, the value “20 EURO” and the year of issue “2019”; below, the inscription “IL RINASCIMENTO”; on the right, the name of the designer “COLANERI”.

OBVERSE: a face representing Italy within a five-pointed star with details from the emblem of the Italian Republic: a cogwheel, oak and olive branches; above, between two points of the star, a towered crown; below, the logo of the Europa Star Programme and the name of the designer “COLANERI”; below, on the right, the letter “R” identifying the Mint of Rome; around, the inscription “REPUBBLICA ITALIANA”.

BELOW: Tintorettos’ 1597 painting ‘The Last Supper’ which contrasts heavily with Leonardo da Vinci’s more technical style

COMPOSITION 0.900 gold
WEIGHT 6.451 grams
BOX / COA Yes / Yes