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50000 Lire 1992, Italy

in Krause book Number: 116с
Years of issue: 27.05.1992
Edition: 1 124 200 000
Signatures: Il Governatore: Antonio Fazio, Il Cassiere: Angelo Amici
Serie: Serie 1990 - 1994
Specimen of: 03.09.1984
Material: Cotton fiber
Size (mm): 149 х 70
Printer: Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato, Rome (from 1978)

* All pictures marked magnify are increased partially by magnifying glass, the remaining open in full size by clicking on the image.

** The word "Specimen" is present only on some of electronic pictures, in accordance with banknote images publication rules of appropriate banks.

50000 Lire 1992



50000 Lire 1992Gian Lorenzo Bernini and electrotype "BI" monogram of Banco Italia. Also 1 symbol, which looks like quotes.


50000 Lire 1992

50000 Lire 1992The engraving on banknote is made after this Self-portrait of Bernini, dated approx. 1630. Oil, canvas. Size: 43 x 34,2 см.

The work captures the influence of Diego Velázquez's painting. Today is in private collection.

Gian Lorenzo Bernini (also Gianlorenzo or Giovanni Lorenzo; 7 December 1598 – 28 November 1680) was an Italian sculptor and architect. While a major figure in the world of architecture, he was the leading sculptor of his age, credited with creating the Baroque style of sculpture. As one scholar has commented, "What Shakespeare is to drama, Bernini may be to sculpture: the first pan-European sculptor whose name is instantaneously identifiable with a particular manner and vision, and whose influence was inordinately powerful...." In addition, he was a painter (mostly small canvases in oil) and a man of the theater: he wrote, directed and acted in plays (mostly Carnival satires), also designing stage sets and theatrical machinery, as well as a wide variety of decorative art objects including lamps, tables, mirrors, and even coaches. As architect and city planner, he designed both secular buildings and churches and chapels, as well as massive works combining both architecture and sculpture, especially elaborate public fountains and funerary monuments and a whole series of temporary structures (in stucco and wood) for funerals and festivals.

Bernini possessed the ability to depict dramatic narratives with characters showing intense psychological states, but also to organize large-scale sculptural works which convey a magnificent grandeur. His skill in manipulating marble ensured that he would be considered a worthy successor of Michelangelo, far outshining other sculptors of his generation, including his rivals, François Duquesnoy and Alessandro Algardi. His talent extended beyond the confines of sculpture to a consideration of the setting in which it would be situated; his ability to synthesize sculpture, painting, and architecture into a coherent conceptual and visual whole has been termed by the art historian Irving Lavin the "unity of the visual arts". In addition, a deeply religious man,[6] working in Counter Reformation Rome, Bernini used light both as an important theatrical and metaphorical device in his religious settings, often using hidden light sources that could intensify the focus of religious worship or enhance the dramatic moment of a sculptural narrative.

Bernini was also a leading figure in the emergence of Roman Baroque architecture along with his contemporaries, the architect Francesco Borromini and the painter and architect Pietro da Cortona. Early in their careers they had all worked at the same time at the Palazzo Barberini, initially under Carlo Maderno and, following his death, under Bernini. Later on, however, they were in competition for commissions, and fierce rivalries developed, particularly between Bernini and Borromini. Despite the arguably greater architectural inventiveness of Borromini and Cortona, Bernini's artistic pre-eminence, particularly during the reigns of popes Urban VIII (1623-1644) and Alexander VII (1655–65), meant he was able to secure the most important commissions in the Rome of his day, the various massive embellishment projects of the newly finished St. Peter's Basilica, completed under Pope Paul V with the addition of Maderno's nave and facade and finally re-consecrated by Pope Urban VIII on 18 November 1626, after 150 years of planning and building. Bernini's design of the Piazza San Pietro in front of the Basilica is one of his most innovative and successful architectural designs. Within the basilica he is also responsible for the Baldacchino, the decoration of the four piers under the cupola, the Cathedra Petri or Chair of St. Peter in the apse, the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament in the right nave, and the decoration (floor, walls and arches) of the new nave.

During his long career, Bernini received numerous important commissions, many of which were associated with the papacy. At an early age, he came to the attention of the papal nephew, Cardinal Scipione Borghese, and in 1621, at the age of only twenty-three, he was knighted by Pope Gregory XV. Following his accession to the papacy, Urban VIII is reported to have said, "It is a great fortune for you, O Cavaliere, to see Cardinal Maffeo Barberini made pope, but our fortune is even greater to have Cavalier Bernini alive in our pontificate." Although he did not fare so well during the reign of Innocent X, under Alexander VII, he once again regained pre-eminent artistic domination and continued to be held in high regard by Clement IX.

Bernini and other artists fell from favor in later neoclassical criticism of the Baroque. It is only from the late nineteenth century that art historical scholarship, in seeking an understanding of artistic output in the cultural context in which it was produced, has come to recognise Bernini's achievements and restore his artistic reputation. The art historian Howard Hibbard concludes that, during the seventeenth century, "there were no sculptors or architects comparable to Bernini".

50000 Lire 1992Left of center is the top part of Fontana del Tritone (Triton Fountain), made by Bernini.

Fontana del Tritone (Triton Fountain) is a seventeenth-century fountain in Rome, by the Baroque sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Commissioned by his patron, Pope Urban VIII, the fountain is located in the Piazza Barberini, near the entrance to the Palazzo Barberini (which now houses the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica) that Bernini helped to design and construct for the Barberini, Urban's family. This fountain should be distinguished from the nearby Fontana dei Tritoni (Fountain of the Tritons) by Carlo Francesco Bizzaccheri in Piazza Bocca della Verità which features two Tritons.

The fountain was executed in travertine in 1642–43. At its centre rises a larger than lifesize muscular Triton, a minor sea god of ancient Greco-Roman legend, depicted as a merman kneeling on the sum of four dolphin tailfins. His head is thrown back and his arms raise a conch to his lips; from it a jet of water spurts, formerly rising dramatically higher than it does today. The fountain has a base of four dolphins[2] that entwine the papal tiara with crossed keys and the heraldic Barberini bees in their scaly tails.

The Tritone, the first of Bernini's free-standing urban fountains, was erected to provide water from the Acqua Felice aqueduct which Urban had restored, in a dramatic celebration. It was Bernini's last major commission from his great patron who died in 1644. At the Triton Fountain, Urban and Bernini brought the idea of a sculptural fountain, familiar from villa gardens, decisively to a public urban setting for the first time; previous public fountains in the city of Rome had been passive basins for the reception of public water.

Bernini has represented the triton to illustrate the triumphant passage from Ovid's Metamorphoses book I, evoking godlike control over the waters and describing the draining away of the Universal Deluge. The passage that Urban set Bernini to illustrate, was well known to all literate Roman contemporaries:

Already Triton, at his call, appears

Above the waves; a Tyrian robe he wears;

And in his hand a crooked trumpet bears.

The sovereign bids him peaceful sounds inspire,

And give the waves the signal to retire.

His writhen shell he takes; whose narrow vent

Grows by degrees into a large extent,

Then gives it breath; the blast with doubling sound,

Runs the wide circuit of the world around:

The sun first heard it, in his early east,

And met the rattling ecchos in the west.

The waters, list'ning to the trumpet's roar,

Obey the summons, and forsake the shore.

-free translation by Sir Samuel Garth, John Dryden, et al..

Two finished terracotta bozzetti at the Detroit Institute of Arts, securely attributed to Bernini, reflect his exploration of the fountain's themes of the intertwined upended dolphins and the muscular, scaly-tailed Triton.

Centered, lower, is the unofficial emblem of Bank of Italy.

Winged lion of St. Mark, symbol of Venice above three shields of Genoa, Pisa and Amalfi.

The Lion of Saint Mark, representing the evangelist St Mark, pictured in the form of a winged lion, is the symbol of the city of Venice and formerly of the Republic of Venice. It appears also in both merchant and military naval flags of the Italian Republic. The Lion of Saint Mark is also the symbol of the award of the Venice Film Festival, the "Golden Lion", and of the insurance company Assicurazioni Generali.

Denomination in numeral is in top left corner. Top, centered, in words.


50000 Lire 1992

50000 Lire 1992 50000 Lire 1992Centered is an equestrian sculpture "The Vision of Constantine", made in 1670 by Bernini.

The Vision of Constantine is an equestrian sculpture by the Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini, located in the Scala Regia by St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. Originally commissioned as a free standing work of art within St. Peter's itself, the sculpture was finally unveiled in 1670 as an integral part of the Scala Regia - Bernini's redesigned stairway between St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Palace. Unlike other large works by Bernini, art historians have suggested that this work was almost entirely undertaken by him - no other sculptors have been recorded as receiving payment. Bernini's overall fee was 7,000 Roman scudi.

Christian ruler, the figure of Constantine the Great was particularly appealing to later popes, particularly in the seventeenth century. Bernini's sculpture adapted one particular moment of Constantine's life.

Before a battle with the pagan Roman Emperor, Maxentius, Constantine was leading prayers with his army. After a while a cross appeared in the sky, above the sun, shining brightly and with the inscription In Hoc Signo Vinces or '"By this sign, you will conquer"'. The miracle astonished Constantine and his troops and gave them sufficient belief to overwhelm Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge, after which Constantine made a triumphal entry to Rome, with which he granted religious toleration, thus freeing the Christians from Roman persecution.

The sculpture has a long history, beginning in 1654, when Bernini began the work, quite possibly commissioned by Pope Innocent X. The original plan was to place the sculpture within St Peter's Basilica. However, when Alexander VII assumed the papal throne a year later, the project was reinvigorated, securing the arrival of a large block of marble which Bernini could use to put existing drawings and sketches into practice. However, for reasons that are unclear, the project was delayed again, and Bernini did not start work on the block until 1662.

It was only at an undefined point in the 1660s that the location for the statue become the new Scala Regia that Bernini himself was designing. Bernini continued refining the equestrian sculpture, and changes were made to the design to cope with the new location on the Scala Regia. Huge clay models of the sculpture were placed within the niche, giving Bernini an idea of what the final composition would look like when placed in situ. Because of the tallness of the niche, overwhelming the sculpture, folding, dynamic drapery was added to the overall decorative effect, to be placed behind the marble horse.

This allowed Bernini to make the final touches to Constantine, and it was declared ready at the end of 1668.

Transporting the sculpture from Bernini's studio to Scala Regia took ten days and required guards to look after it during the night. A variety of straw, winches, planks and beams, plus sledges and oxen were needed to pull the massive sculpture. It finally arrived on 12 January 1669. Architectural and decorative work (such as the drapery) on the niche around the sculpture continued through 1669, as did polishing of the statue itself.

50000 Lire 1992The Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican (Italian: Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano), or simply St. Peter's Basilica (Latin: Basilica Sancti Petri), is an Italian Renaissance church in Vatican City, the papal enclave within the city of Rome.

Designed principally by Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, St. Peter's is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture[2] and one of the largest churches in the world. While it is neither the mother church of the Catholic Church nor the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome, St. Peter's is regarded as one of the holiest Catholic shrines. It has been described as "holding a unique position in the Christian world" and as "the greatest of all churches of Christendom".

Catholic tradition holds that the Basilica is the burial site of Saint Peter, one of Christ's Apostles and also the first Pope. Saint Peter's tomb is supposedly directly below the high altar of the Basilica. For this reason, many Popes have been interred at St. Peter's since the Early Christian period, and there has been a church on this site since the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great. Construction of the present basilica, which would replace Old St. Peter's Basilica from the 4th century AD, began on 18 April 1506 and was completed on 18 November 1626.

St. Peter's is famous as a place of pilgrimage and for its liturgical functions. The Pope presides at a number of liturgies throughout the year, drawing audiences of 15,000 to over 80,000 people, either within the Basilica or the adjoining St. Peter's Square. St. Peter's has many historical associations, with the Early Christian Church, the Papacy, the Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter-reformation and numerous artists, especially Michelangelo. As a work of architecture, it is regarded as the greatest building of its age. St. Peter's is one of the four churches in the world that hold the rank of Major Basilica, all four of which are in Rome. Contrary to popular misconception, it is not a cathedral because it is not the seat of a bishop; the Cathedra of the Pope as Bishop of Rome is in the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran.

50000 Lire 1992 50000 Lire 1992 50000 Lire 1992On background are:

On left side is the reproduction of a study for a medal, commemorating the inauguration of the Royal Staircase in Vatican City (the drawing is in the collection of the Vatican Apostolic Library).

Lower is the plan of the Royal Staircase in Vatican City. The picture was taken from edition by Carlo Fontana (1638-1714) - "Templum vaticanum et ipsius origo" - page 294.

Scala Regia (English: Royal Staircase) is a flight of steps in the Vatican City and is part of the formal entrance to the Vatican. It was built by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger in the early 16th century, to connect the Apostolic Palace to St. Peter's Basilica, and restored by Gian Lorenzo Bernini from 1663 to 1666.

The site for the stairs, a comparatively narrow sliver of land between church and palace, is awkwardly shaped with irregular converging walls. Bernini used a number of typically theatrical, baroque effects in order to exalt this entry point into Vatican. The staircase proper takes the form of a barrel-vaulted colonnade that necessarily becomes narrower at the end of the vista, exaggerating the distance. Above the arch at the beginning of this vista is the coat of arms of Alexander VII, flanked by two sculpted angels.

Finally at the base of the stairs, he placed his equestrian statue of the Roman emperor Constantine the Great. It is meant to display the event, before the Battle of the Milvian Bridge when at Saxa Rubra north of Rome along the Tiber, Constantine sees a vision of the cross with the words In Hoc Signo Vinces (In this sign, you will conquer). The phrase appears prominently placed as a motto on a ribbon unfurled with a passion cross to its left, beneath a window over the Scala Regia, adjacent to the statue of Constantine. Emperors and other monarchs, having paid respects to the Pope, descended the Scala Regia, and would observe the light shining down through the window, with the motto, reminiscent of Constantine's vision, and be reminded to follow the Cross.

In Bernini's statue of Constantine, he is awed and his horse rears, as Constantine realizes that he will win only with the power of the Christ. The moral of this story would not have been lost upon royal visitors to the pope, or for that matter, Cardinals accompanying a deceased pontiff's cortege, who are meant to see the leader of the church as the embodiment of the divine power that over-rules the kings of the world. This theme is often repeated in Vatican artworks such as Giulio Romano’s fresco of The Battle of Milvian Bridge, located in the Sala di Costantino ("Hall of Constantine") as well as the marble relief in St. Peter's of Algardi’s Fuga d’Attila.

Pope Clement IX later installed a sculpture of Charlemagne in the opposite portico of St. Peter's Basilica as a pendant to that of Constantine.

Denomination in numeral is in top right corner.


Withdrawn from circulation since 1999.

Characteristics: Copperplate, dry and wet offset.

Paper: High-quality, slightly coloured, special pulp, watermark, luminous fibrils and a vertical security thread.

Drawing: Giovanni Pino (obverse & reverse).

Etching: Alberto Canfarini (obverse); Franco Zannotti (reverse).