The Czech Renaissance saw a number of progressive personalities in Bohemia, among whom unquestionably excels Kryštof Harant of Polžice and Bezdružice (in German Christoph Harant von Polschitz und Weseritz), a diplomat, painter, composer, writer and traveller. He was born 450 years ago, however his work still attracts new readers and listeners. To mark this anniversary Czech Mint has prepared for fans of numismatics a half-ounce medal made of pure gold in a limited edition of 99 pieces.
Academic sculptor Zbyněk Fojtů was invited to create the design for the medal. On the obverse side he placed a beautifully rendered charismatic portrait of Kryštof Harant of Polžice and Bezdružice together with his name and biographical dates. The reverse side features an elaborate composition inspired by the relief title sheet of the best known Harant’s book of travels “Journey from Bohemia to the Holy Land and on to Egypt, by way of Venice and the Sea“; this is complemented with an impressive scene of the execution which ended Harant’s life on 21 June 1621.
Kryštof Harant of Polžice and Bezdružice came from Klenová, but he spent his childhood as a pageboy at the court of Archduke Ferdinand II of Further Austria, future emperor. There he learned seven languages, history and art and accompanied Ferdinand on his European journeys. Later on, he made a journey to Jerusalem with his brother-in-law, which gave rise to his best known book of travels. For several years he served as a diplomat at the court of Rudolf II and afterwards he settled at the castle Pecka where he composed music. He got involved in the uprising of the estates and the unsuccessful march on imperial Vienna. For this he was arrested by Albrecht von Wallenstein and executed together with other Czech lords. He married three times and had two children, who died very young.
This beautiful piece of art issued by Czech Mint and dedicated to the multi-talented personality of our national history is the right choice for numismatic collections. At the same time, the medal made of pure gold featuring the motif of Kryštof Harant of Polžice and Bezdružice is issued at a very appropriate time because precious metals continue to be very favourably priced. Their expected growth makes the purchase a very smart investment.