In 2011 the Italian State Mint and Polygraphic Institute began a coin series entitled Flora and Fauna in Art Masterpieces. A Dual program with a €20 gold coin dedicated to flora or botanical themes, and a €50 gold coin inspired by fauna or zoological themes. The coins would illustrate and celebrate plant and animal life as portrayed in classical art through the ages.

This year the representation of animals and flowers is taken from famous works of art which focus on Neoclassicism as regards the 20 euro coin and on Rococo and Macchiaioli as far as the 50 euro coin is concerned.

Neoclassicism (also spelled Neo-classicism) was a Western cultural movement in the decorative and visual arts, literature, theatre, music, and architecture that drew inspiration from the art and culture of classical antiquity. Neoclassicism was born in Rome largely thanks to the writings of Johann Joachim Winckelmann, at the time of the rediscovery of Pompeii and Herculaneum, but its popularity spread all over Europe as a generation of European art students finished their Grand Tour and returned from Italy to their home countries with newly rediscovered Greco-Roman ideals. The main Neoclassical movement coincided with the 18th-century Age of Enlightenment, and continued into the early 19th century, laterally competing with Romanticism. In architecture, the style continued throughout the 19th, 20th and up to the 21st century.

European Neoclassicism in the visual arts began c. 1760 in opposition to the then-dominant Rococo style. Rococo architecture emphasizes grace, ornamentation and asymmetry; Neoclassical architecture is based on the principles of simplicity and symmetry, which were seen as virtues of the arts of Rome and Ancient Greece, and were more immediately drawn from 16th-century Renaissance Classicism.

Artist: Valerio De Seta


Depicts a bust of Flora in front view, with light draping and right reclined head, crowned with roses. The wax model for cameo is the work of Benedetto Pistrucci (1784-1855) and preserved in the Museo della Zecca of Rome. Around the inscription is the text “REPUBBLICA ITALIANA”.

Flora (Latin: Flōra) is a Roman goddess of flowers and of the season of spring – a symbol for nature and flowers (especially the may-flower). While she was otherwise a relatively minor figure in Roman mythology, being one among several fertility goddesses, her association with the spring gave her particular importance at the coming of springtime, as did her role as goddess of youth. Her Greek counterpart is Chloris.



Depicts Diana bathing between two nymphs in a scene with rocks and tree. The detail is from the wax model “Diana and Actaeon” by the coin & medal sculptor Benedetto Pistrucci, and preserved in the Museo della Zecca of Rome. In the left field the year of the coin’s issue “2015” and the value “20 EURO”. On the bottom is the name of the designer “V. DE SETA” and “R”, identifying the Mint of Rome.

In ancient Greek mythology and religion, Artemis is the goddess of the hunt, the wilderness, wild animals, nature, vegetation, childbirth, care of children, and chastity.

Actaeon, in Greek mythology, son of the priestly herdsman Aristaeus and Autonoe in Boeotia, was a famous Theban hero. Like Achilles in a later generation, he was trained by the centaur Chiron.

According to the Latin version of the story told by the Roman Ovid having accidentally seen Diana (Artemis) on Mount Cithaeron while she was bathing, Actaeon was changed by her into a stag, and pursued and killed by his fifty hounds. This version also appears in Callimachus' Fifth Hymn, as a mythical parallel to the blinding of Tiresias after he sees Athena bathing.


Type Commemorative Issue (Non-circulating)
Material Gold
Fineness 0.900
Weight 6.451 g
Diameter 21 mm
Thickness -
Shape round
Alignment Medal
Italian State Mint and Polygraphic Institute (IPZS)

Related coins

Flora: Contemporary Art

Flora and Fauna in Art Masterpieces

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Fauna: From Rococò to the Macchiaioli

Flora and Fauna in Art Masterpieces

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Fauna: Contemporary Art

Flora and Fauna in Art Masterpieces

Gold, 16.129 g, ⌀ 28 mm