Ben Goodwin of The Barber Institute of Fine Arts at the
University of Birmingham forward this press release for an upcoming numismatic exhibit. Thanks!
Panoramic Views on European Coins and Medals
27 April 2012 - 6 October 2013
London, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Barcelona, Venice and Budapest… Explore the historical landscapes of
all these cities - and more - in Cityscapes: Panoramic Views on European Coins and Medals at the
Barber Institute of Fine Arts.
The third in a series of prestigious shows organised in collaboration with the British Museum,
Cityscapes highlights how, between the mid 16th century to the early 19th century, many of the
great cities of Europe applied the artistic tradition of the city view to their own coins and
medals - the most circulated art medium. In a world dominated by dynasties and kings, these gave
physical expression in silver and gold to urban pride and civic power and showcase the exquisite
skill of engravers working without modern technology.
The absorbing exhibition includes 100 loans from the British Museum, as well as objects from the
Barber's own coin collection - one of the finest collections of Roman, Byzantine and medieval
Islamic coins in the world. The wonderfully intricate images in Cityscapes feature churches,
citadels, fortifications, harbours, civic buildings, houses and suburbs, emphasising military or
commercial power, wealth, strength and above all, divine protection and favour.
The exhibition at the University of Birmingham-based Barber Institute is accompanied by a rich and
diverse programme of educational activities, lectures, gallery talks, concerts and film
screenings. Cityscapes is also complemented by an online exhibition, which can be visited at
Dr Eurydice Georganteli, Coin Curator, the Barber Institute of Fine Arts said: "Cities are
possibly the most complex artefacts created by human intervention, shaped by geography, as well as
economic, political and cultural considerations. Profound changes in the function of cities over
the last two centuries have led to a steady deconstruction of the urban environment and to the
cultivation of cultural amnesia. As an art historian I have always been struck by the divergence
between civic pride displayed on ancient, medieval and early modern coins and medals, on one hand,
and the apathy or aggression expressed by modern citizens vis-à-vis the space they inhabit."
Dr Barrie Cook, Curator of Medieval and Early Modern Coinage, the British Museum added: "This
exhibition is a celebration of technical mastery, with the engravers of early modern Europe
creating these city-views, simultaneously both intricate and panoramic, in such a small compass as
the diameter of a coin or medal. Furthermore, they created them in three dimensions - the relief
on the objects, however low, offers a depth and a gleam to the city view not present in two-
'I also hope visitors get a sense of an alternative history of early modern Europe. This wasn't
just a world of kings, dynasties and great powers. It was one of lively and independent cities,
and this is a part of Europe's past that is often overlooked.'
Gold medal of London, struck in 1633, by Nicolas Briot.
Coins and Medals, the British Museum
Unfortunately, there won't be a catalogue for this exhibition, but there will be an online
exhibition that will launch soon after the 'physical' show at www.barber.org.uk/coins - therefore,
your readers who can't get to our exhibition can still enjoy the highlights online.
For more information, see:
Wayne Homren, Editor
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