X-Ray 2023 – Creation of Adam
Cook Islands. 5 Dollars 2023. Silver .999. 1 oz. 38.61 mm. Proof. Mintage: 1,500 pieces. Special technology: smartminting® (Ultra High Relief) with color application on one side. Minted by B. H. Mayer’s Kunstprägeanstalt, Munich.
Description of the Coin
One side shows a detail of Michelangelo’s fresco The Creation of Adam in the Sistine Chapel: the hand of God is about to touch that of Adam. In the background another detail from the fresco “The Last Judgement”, above CREATION OF ADAM.
The other side depicts an X-ray scan of the two hands in white and blue against a black background, above the portrait of Elizabeth II with IRB (= Ian Rank-Broadley), around it the circumscription ELIZABETH II 5 DOLLARS COOK ISLANDS 2023; on the uncolored rim X-RAY.
In 2023, CIT releases the third issue of its successful X-Ray series, depicting various motifs in the usual way on one side, while presenting their X-ray scan on the other. Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man was first in 2021, and an Egyptian mummy was second in 2022. The latest coin is dedicated to a detail of Michelangelo’s world-famous fresco. He created it between 1508 and 1512 on the commission of Pope Julius II for the Sistine Chapel, where the conclave of cardinals still meets to elect the Pope. The hands depicted on the coin are from the painting that deals with the creation of man. It shows how God almost touches Adam’s finger, whose body has just been formed, to bestow the divine spark of the soul upon him. By now, the two hands have become an icon of modern pop culture. This work by Michelangelo is the most-replicated painting of religious content of all time.
The reason for this success is the painter’s astonishingly modern interpretation of Genesis 1:27: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” While most medieval paintings depict a small, humble man in front of a giant God who blesses him, Michelangelo presents God and his creature almost on equal footing. Such an image would not have been possible before the paradigm shift of the Renaissance.
CIT now dedicates a coin to this key work of art of Christianity. It combines sophisticated smartminting technology on one side with highly demanding color application on the other. The delicacy of the fine contours of the x-ray scan can only be truly appreciated by those who know what a challenge it is to achieve such exquisite color effects on a coin.
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