FORERUNNER

Commemorative medal: We celebrate together

The National Bank, the first bank since the Greek state's establishment, is leading the national celebration for the 200th anniversary of the Revolution of 1821.

During a short ceremony at the National Bank’s Melas Megaron, the celebration of the national anniversary was inaugurated when the President of the Committee "Greece 2021" Mrs. Gianna Angelopoulos, presented "Forerunner," the first official commemorative medal, to the CEO of the National Bank, Mr. Pavlos Mylonas. The National Bank is supporting the work of the Committee "Greece 2021" by undertaking the distribution of the commemorative medal to every Greek or Philhellene through its network of shops and its website.
The "Forerunner" depicts the work of folk painter Theophilos Hatzimihail "Greece Reborn" in a commemorative medal of intricate design which is using for the first time, a special technique that emphasizes the details of the work and the engraving expertise of the artists of the Greek Mint (IETA).

In a statement, Mr. Pavlos Mylonas, CEO of the National Bank, pointed out: "The bicentennial of our country's independence is a pivotal moment for the nation. An opportunity to honor our ancestors' achievements and reflect on the kind of future we want to share and what actions - and sacrifices - we are willing to make toward its achievement, just as our ancestors did.
The Committee "Greece 2021" will play an essential role in this celebration, which is also an introspection.All of us at the National Bank want to have active participation in this historic celebration.Today, upon receiving the official commemorative collectible medal of the Committee "Greece 2021", we undertake its exclusive distribution through our network of stores and the website of the National Bank, we commit to make the existence and the value of this effort publicly known and to persuade the public to support it - to participate in this effort by acquiring it. Celebrating our independence will be a forerunner of an even better future. For the country we envision and desire."



The President of the Committee "Greece 2021" Mrs. Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, commented on the role of the National Bank in the distribution of the "Forerunner," stressing that "the Bank will ensure great momentum in the project and guarantee the best result".Mrs. Angelopoulos stressed that "the Committee has no state funding and both its operation and the implementation of its programme rely solely on its sponsors and the revenues raised by its Numismatic Programme. The Bank of Greece took over as Gold Sponsor of the Numismatic Programme and secured the use of the Mint's outstanding mechanism (IETA) for the production of coins and medals by covering the cost".



Referring to the "Forerunner" Mrs. Angelopoulos pointed out: "it is the commemorative medal that constitutes the pre-celebration opening act of the Numismatic Programme. This is one of the two reasons we called the coin by this name. The second reason is the depiction on one side of the medal of the painting by Theophilos which reveals the processes that preceded the Revolution: the two emblematic figures of the Modern Greek Enlightenment, Rigas Velestinlis and Adamantios Korais, support Greece and lead her to Rebirth. This process can be interpreted as a forerunner of the Revolution, the first act of the course that led to the creation of the modern Greek state."


Regarding the commemorative medal "Forerunner" which is available through the National Bank:

The work of folk painter Theophilos Hatzimihail "Greece Reborn" is depicted on the "Forerunner", the commemorative medal with which the Committee's "Greece 2021" Numismatic Programme is launched, celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Revolution of 1821.
Theophilos' painting is painted on cardboard; it dates from 1911 and is based on an older lithograph (approx. 1840). It depicts Greece, both "ancient" and "Christian", being supported by two emblematic figures of pre-revolutionary Hellenism: Adamantios Korais and Rigas Velestinlis.

The imaginary co-existence of the two men, captured in the folk artistic expression, is not so much owed to the resemblance of their ideas as to the acknowledgment that the intellectual processes that preceded the Revolution played a vital role in the "rebirth" of Greece. A rebirth portrayed in the painting as the phoenix, the mythical bird that is being reborn from its ashes.

Regarding the commemorative medal, it is the first time that such a technique is used to create a commemorative medal in Greece. The coin is composed of 3 parts, which are connected with a blue polymeric ring. On the front side, we see the painting by Theophilos. The engraving dexterity of the National Mint artists is evident: it managed to transfer in such a small area the amazing details of the original, even the facial expressions and the posture of the figures.
On the reverse side, the logo of the Committee "Greece 2021," is depicted, the title of the celebration "200 Years after the Revolution" and the logo of the Mint (IETA.) Finally, along the medal's perimeter, the two dates, 1821 – 2021, are engraved, joined by two laurel branches. The "Forerunner" is placed in a specially designed luxury case "blister" in a diptych printed with a part of Theophilos' painting. A detailed text, in Greek and English, describes the symbolism of the depictions.