Pushkin Museum, Benaki Museum & KIKPE Numismatic Collection. Heads and Tails – Tales and Bodies:
Engraving the Human Figure from Antiquity to the Early Modern Period. July 5 – October 30, 2016, Gallery 24, Pushkin Museum, Moscow
More and more coins can clearly constitute the core of thematic exhibitions, despite their small size and some difficulties due mainly to the public’s unfamiliarity with them. The combination of coins with other artefacts in a symbolic dialogue has much to say to a wide audience.
The exhibition Heads and Tails – Tales and Bodies: Engraving the Human Figure from Antiquity to the Early Modern Period falls within this scope. It focuses on the representation of the human figure on coins and other small coin-shaped artefacts through the ages, from Greek Antiquity to the Early Modern Period. In addition to pieces from the collections of the Pushkin Museum, it includes coins from the Benaki Museum in Athens, as well as from the KIKPE Numismatic Collection, which is kept on loan in the Benaki Museum. With images that usually reflect the trends and achievements of large-scale sculpture, the surfaces of coins, gemstones, medals and the like, have proved to be an extraordinary challenge for engravers and some truly remarkable artworks bear witness to the ways in which the difficulties in rendering (Gr. kallos en smikrō for ‘beauty in small-scale’) can be overcome.