Them symbolic and ceremonial nature of the medal means that it is the form chosen by the Fábrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre (The Royal Mint of Spain) to commemorate the bicentenary of Carlos III, whose reign was a particularly productive period for Spanish numismatics. Emblematic pieces minted in the Royal Mints around the Peninsula and overseas have been arriving; however, it is the field of medals that marks a more prominent period, as, in contrast to the rigidity of coins, medals embody the spirit of Illustration and reflect the creative freedom of engraving artists.
The theme put forward for the production of these commemorative medals is Carlos III and Illustration. Therefore, the participation of six of the following contemporary Spanish sculptors has been requested: Amador, Francisco López Hernández, Julio López Hernández, Remigio Mendiburu, Jorge Oteiza and Pablo Palazuelo, with each carrying out the project in their own artistic style. The result is the conjunction between the classic form of the medal and the contemporary hallmark of each piece of work.
Bronze is the material used by all the artists, with one exception being Mendiburu, who prefers to work with Corten steel on a bas-relief weighing nine kilos. The other medals weigh somewhere between one and three kilos and a half, and are noteworthy for their use of geometric motifs. Another exception in these characteristics is the work of the López Hernández brothers.
Julio López Hernández presents a medal that pays homage to and recounts the story of Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos, a key figure in Illustration as well as numismatics and philately. The writer, jurist and Spanish politician appears on the obverse of the medal looking pensive, whilst the reverse features views of the city and Jovellanos' words, “Y de otros entes. Sube al origen” (And from other beings. Rise to the origin). Meanwhile, Francisco López Hernández' medal is equally figurative and represents a woman painting on a canvas on one side, and a vegetable motif on the other.
Amador, Palazuelo and Oteiza base the designs of their medals around geometry; Palazuelo offers a series of astonishing reliefs that unfurl concentrically, while Oteiza creates a medal weighing around one kilo and a half with forms in close proximity to a sphere with an uneven surface. This is not the first time he has produced medals, thus this type of work he uses as a platform for experimentation to test the break-up of a circle.
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