200 euro - The Archangels: Gabriel
The combination of art and faith has always characterized art and distinguishes countless masterpieces preserved in Vatican City, some of which will be the subject of this new cycle of numismatic issues. Through art the popes over the centuries have communicated and accomplished their spiritual mission. It was John Paul II who noted that art, “even beyond its typically religious expressions, true art has a close affinity with the world of faith, so that, even in situations where culture and the Church are far apart, art remains a kind of bridge to religious experience.” (Letter of Pope John Paul II to Artists, 1999).We inaugurate this new cycle with a sculpted work of undisputed and extraordinary beauty, the Pietà, created by twenty-four year old Michelangelo Buonarroti between 1498-1499. The work was commissioned by French Cardinal Jean de Bilhères, ambassador of Charles VIII to the court of Pope Alexander VI, and destined to the chapel of Saint Petronilla where it would probably have been the cardinal’s funerary monument. Here art and faith fully unite reaching an expressive and emotional force of rare intensity, without affecting in any way the delicacy and gentleness of the composition which remains one of the most admired sculptural works ever.