Paper Money

Leonardo da Vinci could be feature of future euro notes

News agencies report that Leonardo da Vinci will likely be one of the six subjects portrayed on the next generation of euro notes, to be introduced in 2024.

Image in the public domain.

News agencies report that it is entirely conceivable, if not perhaps a given, that Leonardo da Vinci will be one of the six subjects portrayed on the next generation of euro notes that are to be introduced in 2024.

The global news agency AFP reported on Jan. 20 that the suggestion came in a French radio interview with European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde, who said da Vinci, the embodiment of the Renaissance, would be an “obvious” pick.

Da Vinci, who lived from 1452 to 1519, is perhaps best known as the artist who painted the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, but he is also widely recognized as an engineer, scientist, theorist, sculptor, inventor, and architect.

Lagarde had earlier said when referring to the anonymous generic designs of the current issues, “After 20 years, it’s time to review the look of our banknotes to make them more relatable to Europeans of all ages and backgrounds.” She now added, “We must find great, true Europeans over the course of history so that we can recognize ourselves.”

The eventual choices are fraught with geopolitical ramifications since the €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, and €200 bank notes are the only ones that will be produced. With 19 countries now using the euro, at least 13 of them will not be represented.

Lagarde also suggested that Simone Veil be one of the subjects. From 1979 to 1982, Veil served as the first woman president of the European Parliament. She was a holocaust survivor of two concentration camps, Auschwitz-Birkenau and Bergen-Belsen, and became a proponent of an integrated Europe as a way to avoid a repetition of history’s mistakes. As France’s minister of health, she was a strong supporter of women’s rights.

An advisory group of representatives from all nineteen euro countries will present the European Central Bank with a set of proposals, after which the bank will ask the public to help contribute to a short list. The bank’s governing council, its main decision-making body, will make the final decision. It members are the six members of the executive board, plus the governors of the national central banks of each the euro area countries. It is led by President Lagarde.

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