Laura Cretara, born in Rome 1939, was first introduced to art by her father Francesco, a painter and engraver. She studied art at secondary school and then at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, before specialising at the Medal Art School under the guidance of masters such as Guttuso, Fazzini, Giampaoli and Baiardi. In 1961 she joined the Italian Mint as an engraver.
The first woman to have engraved a coin in the history of Italian coins and medals, Cretara has since created many more for Italy and for as other countries. She has modernised the figurative symbolism of Italian coins, adapting it to the country's historical and social development, as in the case of the bi-metal 500 lire coin. Her extraordinary talent in bas-relief modelling stands out in all of her creations.
It would be impossible to list all of her extraordinary works. An international jury chose her 100 lire coin in circulation as Coin of the Year in 1993, an honour that also went to her Expo Milan 2015 medallion. She was also responsible for the research behind the Italian series of euro coins and for the modelling of Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man for the Italian one-Euro coin.
Since 2006 she has been an expert member of the standing technical-artistic committee established by the Ministry of the Economy and Finance.
An artist of great standing and multi-faceted talent, she also works regularly in sculpture, graphic design and visual communications. She is a scholar of numismatics and medal history and has curated national and international exhibitions in the field. An enthusiastic and generous teacher, from 1976 to 2004 she was director of the Medal Art School in Rome, turning it into a leading world institute.
Awards and Honours
Awarded the title Commendatore dell’Ordine equestre di Sant’Agata della Repubblica di San Marino.
Premio Albino Bazzi award for numismatics.
Awarded the title Commendatore Ordine al merito della Repubblica Italiana.
Her 500-lire silver coin won the Krause International Award for Best Coin of the Year.
Premio Minerva award for the Arts.
Premio Profeti in Patria for Italian Excellence.
Premio Sant’Eligio awarded by the University and Noble College of Roman Silversmiths and Goldsmiths.