Saint Isaac’s Cathedral: history in medals 04.04.2018
The medal is made of tombac with the diameter of 60 mm, of proof-like quality in the number of 200 pieces. It is packed in a capsule and a presentation case. The medal’s nominal weight is 143.3 g. An image of the historical puncheon applied at the Saint Petersburg Mint in the 19th century for striking the medal “In memory of consecration of Saint Isaac’s Cathedral in Saint Petersburg. May 30, 1858” was used in the medal sketch.
The medal designing was started last summer. Fedor Andronov, an artist of the Design Center of Goznak, is the author of the medal sketch. The majority of time was spent on working upon the sketch. The engineering and manufacturing stage of minting the medal was carried out in a short time.
According to Fedor Andronov, he solved a few artistic tasks during the work – to create a product worthy of the event, find an original artistic solution and fulfill the customers’ wishes.
200 years since the beginning of construction of St. Isaac’s Cathedral is an important date for the whole Saint Petersburg because the cathedral is a symbol of the city.
“In 2010 the Saint Petersburg Mint produced a commemorative medal in the number of 100 pieces dedicated to the 175th anniversary of the Smolny Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ”, said Fedor Andronov. “I applied an image of the cathedral from the old tool in its design. Working upon the commemorative medal dedicated to the 200th anniversary of the start of construction of St. Isaac’s Cathedral, I decided to keep to the practice and applied the same solution. The customers also liked the idea to take the image of St. Isaac’s Cathedral from a historical puncheon and place it on the front side of the medal, but make it look modern at the same time. The backside features the dome of the cathedral.
Employees of the Sales and Marketing Department and the archive keeper of the Saint Petersburg Mint Olga Garusova helped to select the historical materials and the necessary puncheon.
They proposed to apply the puncheon used in minting of the unique medal “In memory of consecration of Saint Isaac’s Cathedral in Saint Petersburg. May 30, 1858”. There are two types of these medals: big, with the diameter of 79 mm, and small, with the diameter of 65 mm.
The front side of the big medals (the portraits) was made by A. Lialin, the backside – by V. Alexeev. The authors of the puncheons of the small medal were N. Kozin (front) and V. Alexeev (back). The images and inscriptions of the small and big medals are practically identical. The medal was described in the famous catalogues by V.I. Smirnov and M.E. Dyakov. According to experts, it is a great work of the medal art of the 19th century and one of the best medals struck at the Saint Petersburg Mint.
The puncheon used for minting the big medal with the diameter of 79 mm was scanned and depicted on the sketch of the modern medal.
Yuri Mudrov, Director of the State Memorial Museum “St. Isaac’s Cathedral” reminded that commemorative medals were issued on the occasions of groundbreaking (1768) and consecration of St. Isaac’s Cathedral (1858).
“We initially wanted the medal to be made in the spirit of Classicism and reflect the spirit of St. Isaac’s Cathedral, its architecture and laconism of the time. Fedor Andronov, a medal artist understood and fulfilled the idea perfectly. The medal is very accurate, and at the same time, the space is worked through and does not look flat. The Holy Spirit in the shape of a dove is depicted on the backside – it is the cathedral’s dome from within. It is also clear and laconic, and aerial at the same time. The dedication to the start of construction of St. Isaac’s Cathedral looks hammered, just like the image of the cathedral and the medal itself.
We are very happy about the artistic solution, we – the employees of the State Memorial Museum “St. Isaac’s Cathedral” – like the medal very much. And other people as well. For example, members of the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Arts and representatives of museums the medal was passed to, noted the integrity of the idea reflected in the medal, the beauty of its implementation and the level of its execution worthy of the cathedral’s jubilee”.
Totally 200 pieces of the medal were minted. It is symbolic: 200 years since the beginning of construction of St. Isaac’s Cathedral and 200 pieces of the commemorative medal dedicated to the date.
The medal is passed to museums and given to people who have made a great contribution into the history of the cathedral.
“It is not our first successful experience of co-operation with Goznak”, said Yuri Mudrov. “In 2009, the Saint Petersburg Mint struck a commemorative medal dedicated to the 300th anniversary of Saint Sampson’s Cathedral and the victory of Poltava. It was issued in the number of 200 pieces and given to museum employees and restorers.
In 2010, they minted a commemorative medal dedicated to the 175th anniversary of the Smolny Convent of the Resurrection of Christ. Both the works were made at a high level, and we remember the co-operation with great pleasure”.
The Director of the State Memorial Museum “St. Isaac’s Cathedral” also congratulated Goznak with the coming jubilee, “Goznak is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year. Goznak, the Saint Petersburg Mint and the Saint Petersburg Paper Mill are symbols of Saint Petersburg, just like St. Isaac’s Cathedral”.