Albrecht Dürer was an innovative engraver, painter and printmaker and an important contributor to the Northern Renaissance in Germany.
Born in Nuremberg in 1471, Dürer showed a talent for drawing at an early age and once he finished apprenticing under his Hungarian goldsmith father he set out to learn from various artists around Germany and Italy. Some of his major works include Adam and Eve (an engraving from 1504 and a painting from 1507); St. George on Horseback (engraving, 1508); Knight, Death and the Devil (engraving, 1513); Portrait of Hieronymus Holzschuher (painting, 1526); and several self-portraits – the most famous being perhaps the Self-Portrait of 1500).
Dürer’s 1502 gouache and watercolor painting Jungen Feldhase (“Young Field Hare”) is another such masterpiece and frequently cited as one of the finest artistic renderings of an animal in European history. It was part of a series of realistic nature studies Dürer created around the turn of the century as he conducted his own investigations into the new ideas coming out of cities like Venice during the Italian Renaissance (Dürer himself was in touch with such Renaissance luminaries as Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci).
The painting is housed at the Albertina Museum in Vienna, Austria.
On February 24, 2016–in time for Easter–the Austrian Mint issued a 5-euro silver uncirculated coin commemorating the work that features a faithful modern rendition of Dürer’s hare on the reverse, engraved by Thomas Pesendorfer.
The coin features the standard obverse for all Austrian 5-euro coins. Engraved by Helmut Andexlinger, nine shields (representing the nine federal provinces of the Republic of Austria) surround a large numeral “5” that sits at the center of the coin. The top of each shield is parallel to one of the sides of the nine-sided coin, and arcs that trace the curved sides of each shield interlock to form something like a nine-pointed sunburst. The inscription REPUBLIK ÖSTERREICH encircles the majority of the coin while the word EURO is found anchored at the bottom. A stylish sans-serif font is used for the lettering.
Pesendorfer’s version of Dürer’s hare retains much of the detail, texture and contrast that make the original a visual and technical triumph of not only the Renaissance but of all European art. Behind and to the right of the hare is a patch of wild grasses that looks to be inspired by another of Dürer’s nature studies, The Great Piece of Turf (1503).
Albrecht Dürer’s iconic monogram can be found prominently displayed beneath the grass, and the year 2016 is inscribe below the wild hare.
Designer(s): Thomas Pesendorfer is the Chief Engraver of the Austrian Mint. His award-winning design for the Vienna Philharmonic bullion coin is known all over the world (View Designer’s Profile). Helmut Andexlinger is at the forefront of a younger generation of coin designers. His innovative work with computer technology has resulted in many award-winning coins for the Mint (View Designer’s Profile). Both men studied at the Fachschule für Metalldesign in Steyr, Austria.
|Year Of Issue:||2016|
|OBV Designer||Helmut Andexlinger|
|REV Designer||Thomas Pesendorfer|
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