Obverse Bust to left, a portrait of Andrea Gritti (1458-1538, doge of Venice from 1523), bearded, wearing a gown and a doge’s cap. Around, ANDREAS. GRITI. DVX. VENETIAR. MDXXIII. (Andrea Gritti, doge of Venice, 1523). Beaded border. Reverse Perspective view of the façade and right side of the church of S. Francesco della Vigna. Around, DIVI. FRANCISCI. MDXXXIIII [leaf] ([Church] of S. Francesco, 1534); in exergue, AN. SP. F. (Andreas Spinelli fecit). Inner and outer beaded borders.
The reverse records the architect Jacopo Sansovino’s design for remodelling the old church of the Observant Franciscans at the time doge Andrea Gritti laid the cornerstone, on 15 August 1534. Building work was interrupted after criticism by the mystic monk Francesco Giorgi, Sansovino was dismissed, and the project completed by Andrea Palladio, in 1582, to a quite different design. Our medal is the prime evidence of Sansovino’s abandoned project. The medallist Antonio Spinelli worked mainly in Venice, where he was chief engraver at the mint from 1540 until he was replaced by his son, Marcantonio, in 1572. This is the earliest of six portrait and two subject medals signed by him. Both cast and struck examples are known. Provenance: Piero Voltolina (1930-2005) – Arsantiqua, The Serenissima collection: history of Venice through medals. Part I (XV-XVI), London, 19 April 2002, lot 98.