Obverse Bust to right, a portrait of Giulio Rospigliosi, Pope Clement IX (1667-1669), bearded, in profile to right, wearing camauro, mozetta and stole. Around, CLEMENS IX . PONT MAX . AN . III. Signed on the truncation, F . CHERON . F. Reeded border. Reverse View from the East of the Ponte Sant’Angelo with the newly-completed statues of angels, with above an angel blowing the trumpet of Fame, and below the river god of the Tiber, to his right the She-Wolf suckles Romulus and Remus. Around, ÆLIO PONTE EXORNATO. Incised signature on the outer rim, F . CHERON.
This medal was cast in the third year of Clement IX’s pontificate to celebrate the restoration of the Pons Aelius, the Hadrianic bridge leading across the Tiber to the Castel Sant’ Angelo, and its new sculptural decoration executed from drawings and models supplied by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. It is the first documented work of the medallist Chéron and its astonishing sophistication has raised doubts that he was wholly responsible for its design. The portrait of Clement IX on the obverse is similar to the one appearing on a medal by Alberto Hamerani struck in the same year and it has been suggested that both medallists “made use of a drawing provided by a major artist. While it is tempting to hypothesize that that artist was Bernini and many circumstantial arguments could be adduced in his favor, the name of Carlo Maratta merits equal consideration” (Timothy Clifford). Likewise, the reverse of the medal is believed to depend on a lost drawing by Bernini. This example from the Michael Hall collection featured in exhibitions held in 1974 (Amherst College; Smith College Museum of Art; and John and Norah Warbeke Gallery, Mount Holyoke College) and in 1981 (Mount Holyoke College Museum of Art; David and Alfred Smart Gallery, The University of Chicago; and The University of Michigan Museum of Art).