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Title: Italian commemorative coin minted for the 500th anniversary of the birth of Michelangelo, 1975
Artists: Giampaoli, Pietro
Keywords: Italy;Michelangelo Buonarroti, 1475-1564;Medals
Issue Date: 1975
Abstract: General Description: This 500 lire silver coin was issued in Italy in 1975 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the birth of Michelangelo. The coin was minted in 269,000 examples and normally delivered in a presentation folio. Thus it was intended as a collector's item rather than a piece to be put into circulation, despite being perfectly valid for commerce. Coins and medals have a close historic relationship and the earliest medals were clearly based on prior coinage. Other countries have issued coinage with Michelangelo's image but this example is the most clearly related to commemoration and memorialization of the artist. The obverse bears a profile portrait facing towards the left with "Repubblica Italiana" and the date 1975 along the border. Beneath the portrait is "Giampaoli-Monassi inc" in reference to the collaboration of Pietro Giampaoli (1898-1998) and Guerrino Mattia Monassi (1918-1981), who were responsible for several collectible coins. The reverse shows an image of the Delphic Sybil, which appears on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel as painted by Michelangelo. Pietro Giampaoli was head of the Italian mint from 1937-1963 and was succeeded by Guerrino Mattia Monassi, who was also his former pupil. The authorship of the coin is attributed by the mint to Giampaoli.
Obverse Description: The obverse bears a left side portrait of Michelangelo with the inscription "REPVBBLICA ITALIANA 1975" (Italian Republic 1975). The reverse of this coin also includes the artists' name "GIAMPAOLI - MONASSI INC." below the portrait.
Reverse Description: The reverse contains an image of an unknown woman with the inscription "MICHELANGELO BVONARROTI" in the surround and the inscription "L-500" on the bottom, along with the respective dates "1475" and "1564" on the sides of the portrait.
Historical Context:
Artist Biography: This medal was designed by Pietro Giampaoli (1898-1998). Giampaoli was an Italian medalist and engraver. After serving in the First World War, Giampaoli pursued art studies at Brera Academy in the 1920s. He then settled in Rome and became the chief engraver at the Mint by 1936.
Description: This medal was scanned and uploaded to DLynx by Bonnie Whitehouse '18 and Rachel Rotter '18 in the Visual Resources Center during the 2016-2017 school year.
Appears in Collections:A Catalogue of Medals Commemorating Michelangelo

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Medal018_Obverse.jpg2.9 MBJPEGThumbnail
Medal018_Reverse.jpg2.87 MBJPEGThumbnail

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