The French Mint honors artist Auguste Rodin on a 100 Euro silver commemorative coin released in 2017. The French artist, famous for iconic sculptures such as The Thinker and The Kiss, is honored on the obverse of the 100 Euro silver coin, which is one of three French coins released in 2017 featuring his likeness. Born on November 12, 1840, in Paris, France, Rodin was formally schooled in traditional sculpture but eventually became the progenitor of the modernist movement in the sculpting arts.
Rodin’s rise to fame began in the 1870s when he sculpted The Age of Bronze (1876), a life-like bronze sculpture of a nude male appearing so realistic that critics believed the artist had cast an actual model. Rodin, who denied any accusations that his work was based on casts, gained notoriety and acclaim from his contemporaries and established himself as a world-renowned artist with further works, including The Thinker and The Kiss (1889). The breadth of Rodin’s work grew in later years, including Cupid and Psyche (1898), The Gates of Hell (1917), and Eve (1881)–as well as thousands of paintings and drawings. One of the largest collections of the artist’s works was assembled in the Musée Rodin, which opened in Paris in 1916, a year before his death on November 17.
Rodin is also remembered on a circulating 2 Euro coin and a 10 Euro silver collector coin. The 100 Euro coin is part of a series called “Un Art, Un Artiste, Un Lieu,” or “An Art, An Artist, A Place,” as translated in English. The series, celebrating seven forms of art, is overseen by French fashion designer Christian Lacroix and runs from 2013 through 2019.
The 100 Euro Rodin silver coin features a bust of the artist alongside his famous work, The Thinker, an 1880s plaster piece (known as Le Penseur in the French language) that has gained worldwide cultural recognition since the early 1900s when it made its first appearances as a bronze cast. The obverse, designed by Joaquin Jimenez, shares a common design with the 10 Euro Rodin coin and depicts the French artist donning a beard, looking much as he did during the crescendo of his career in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Rodin, seen center-right within a cameo device that dominates the obverse of the coin, appears deeply contemplative in this three-quarters portrait. On the center-left of the obverse appears the head and upper torso segment of The Thinker, which faces right on the coin in such a fashion that the figure in the sculpture appears to be pressing his forehead into that of the artist that created him. The head-to-head juxtaposition of the artist and his work, a literal tête-à-tête, expresses deep symbolism, perhaps suggesting, among many things, that Rodin’s work reflected his intense, characteristic introspection.
At the top of the cameo section of the obverse is the acronym RF, which indicates the coin’s nation of origin, République Française. The artist’s signature, “A. Rodin,” is inscribed at the lower right of the obverse, and a “1917-2017” dual-date near the center-right of the coin along the rim indicates the centennial of Rodin’s death. At the left of the dual-date feature is a cornucopia that serves as a mintmark for the French Mint, alongside a pentagon representing the trademark for French Mint Director Yves Sampo.
In addition to being featured on the 2017 French 2- and 10-Euro coins that also honor Rodin, The Thinker was earlier featured on another set of French coins. In 1996, The Thinker was incorporated into the obverses of a silver 10 Francs, 1-1/2 coin, and 500 Francs, 75 Euro gold coin.
The reverse design of the 2017 Rodin French 100 Euro coin showcases two large hexagons staggered in placement, with the 12 points of the two overlaid hexagons touching the reverse rim. These twin hexagons are positioned in such a way that their collective angles form a 24-sided polygon known as an icositetragon. Inside the series of two outer hexagons is a stylized third hexagon, and this trio of hexagons symbolically represents the geopolitical shape of France.
Within the interior hexagon is found the inscription RÉPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE, with the lines of text arched in a fashion resembling an upright letter “C.” Inside the arched national legend is a wreath containing an oak branch and laurel branch that also form an upright “C.” Expressed in a horizontal line of text is the coin’s denomination, EURO 100. Collectively, the denomination, wreath, and national inscription are positioned to visually represent the € EURO symbol.
The edge of the 2017 French Rodin 100 Euro silver coin is smooth and without inscription.
Designer Joaquin Jimenez has designed coins and medals for the Monnaie de Paris since 1986. His Starry Tree design serves as the national side of the French 1 and 2-euro circulating coins (View Designers Profile).
|Year Of Issue:||2017|
|Mint Mark:||cornucopia (Monnaie de Paris)|
|OBV Designer||Joaquin Jimenez|
|REV Designer||Joaquin Jimenez|