Obverse Bust to left, a portrait of Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta, signore di Rimini, Fano e Senigallia (1417-1468), in armour, wearing a laurel wreath. Around, SIGISMVNDVS PANDVLFVS . MALATESTA . PAN[ULFI] . F[ILIUS] . (Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta, son of Pandolfo [di Galeotto] Malatesta). Reverse Front view of the Tempio Malatestiano, Rimini, according to Alberti's proposed reconstruction. Around, PRAECL[ARUM] A RIMINI . TEMPLUM . AN[NO] . GRATIAE . V[IVENS or VICTOR or VOTUM] . F[ECIT] . M.CCCC.L.
This attractive medal was cast to commemorate the remodelling of the exterior shell and façade of the 13th century church of San Francesco in Rimini. Examples were inserted in the foundation, others distributed as favours and publicity, and six were later placed in the tomb of Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta, signore di Rimini, Fano e Senigallia (1417-1468). The medallist Matteo de' Pasti was superintendent of architectural works at the Malatesta court and worked closely with Leon Battista Alberti (1404-1472) in the modification of San Francesco into a combination of religious edifice and mausoleum for the Malatesta family. The view of the façade on the reverse shows a great dome and other aspects of Alberti's project that were never carried out. Many scholars have discussed the medal as an important document of Alberti's unrealised intentions, and some are inclined to believe that it was cast following directions or suggestions by Alberti himself.
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.
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 and robe. Around, ANDREAS. GRITI. DVX. VENETIAR. ET. C. (Andrea Gritti, doge of Venice). 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.
This medal was commissioned by doge Andrea Gritti to commemorate a project to reconstruct S. Francesco della Vigna, the old church of the Observant Franciscans in Venice. The reverse records the architect Jacopo Sansovino’s design for remodelling the church at the time of laying the cornerstone, on 15 August 1534. Two examples of the medal in silver were concealed beside it. Our example is a rare variant, with undated obverse (instead of ANDREAS. GRITI. DUX. VENETIAR. MDXXIII.); both struck and cast 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 97.
Obverse Bust to right, a portrait of Camillo Agrippa, bearded, wearing a doublet and a mantle. Around, CAMILLVS. AGRIPPA . ANT. F. (Camillo Agrippa, son of Antonio); signed on the truncation, IO. BA. BO. F. Beaded border. Reverse An armed warrior pursuing Fortune and seizing her by the hair, a temple in the background. Around, VELIS [quatrefoil] NOLI SVE (Whether you wish it or not, taken from Seneca). Beaded border. The reverse is placed on the medal in an inverted position.
A portrait medal of Camillo Agrippa (circa 1535-circa 1595), engineer of the Acqua Vergine on the Pincio, celebrated for his participation in discussions about resiting the obelisks in Rome. The initials IO. BA. BO. F. beneath the portrait were identified by M.G. Milanesi with Giovanni Battista Bonini, active in Rome between 1557 and 1585, elected in 1576 Console and in 1579 Camerlengo of the Roman goldsmiths' guild.
Obverse Bust to right, a portrait of Domenico Fontana, bearded, wearing a doublet, a ruff, and a medal suspended from a chain. Around, DOMINIC. FONTANA CIV. RO. COM. PALAT. ET EQ. AVR. (Domenico Fontana, Roman citizen, count of the Palatine, and knight of the Aurelian). Beaded border. Reverse Four obelisks, each surmounted by a cross. Around, IVSSV SIXTI V. PON. O.M. EREXIT (He erected [them] by order of the most excellent Pope Sixtus V); in exergue, 1589. Beaded border.
This medal commemorates Fontana's relocation in the Piazza del Popolo in 1589 of the obelisk brought by Augustus from Heliopolis to Rome and set up originally in the Circus Maximus. That obelisk is depicted on the reverse together with three others with which Fontana is associated, placed respectively in front of S. Pietro in Vaticano (1586), outside S. Maria Maggiore (1587), and S. Giovanni in Laterano (1588). The features of the architect shown on the obverse agree with those in an engraved portrait by Natale Bonifacio published with Fontana's book on the transport of the Vatican Obelisk (1590), where he also wears a medal suspended by a chain. Both struck and cast examples in bronze are known.
Obverse Bust to left, a portrait of Fabio Chigi, Pope Alexander VII (1655-1667), wearing cap, mozzetta and stole with floral decoration, separated from inscription by a rim. Around, ALEXANDER . VII . P . M . PIVS . IVST . OPT . SENEN . PATR . GENTE . CHISIVS . MDCLIX. Reverse The Lion recognising Androclus in the Arena. Around, MVNIFICO . PRINCIPI . DOMINICVS . IACOBATIVS; below, on a scroll, ET . FERA . MEMOR . BENEFICII.
This remarkable large cast medal was commissioned by the papal agent Domenico Jacobacci, designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and executed in 1659 by the papal medallist Gioacchino Francesco Travani. On the obverse is a portrait bust of Pope Alexander VII and depicted on the reverse is the legend of Androclus and the Lion at the moment the lion suddenly cowers and spares the life of a condemned slave who once pulled a thorn from its foot. The cowering lion symbolizes Rome’s thankful remembrance of the pope’s munificence and courageous leadership during the plague of 1656-1657; an inscription on a scroll proclaims “The beast, too, remembers the kindness”. In its size, scale, and compositional complexity, the Androclus medal aspires to the grander status of the plaquette or the small relief sculpture. It stands out in the sequence of papal medals and because of its perspectival illusionism and pictorial effect is promoted as “the first baroque medal” and “the finest and most ambitious example of Italian medallic art of the seventeenth century” (Timothy Clifford). The evidence of Bernini’s authorship of this medal includes an entry in Cardinal Flavio Chigi’s inventory for the lost original drawing and two prints commemorating the casting (one print employs the phrase “numisma opus Bernini”).
Obverse Bust to left, a portrait of Fabio Chigi, Pope Alexander VII (1655-1667), wearing cope embroidered with Christ and the Cross of Calvary, and tiara. Around, ALEX . VII . PONT . MAX . A . VII; below truncation, 1662. Reverse Front elevation of Santa Maria dell'Assunzione in Ariccia. Around, [star] BENE . FVNDATA . DOMVS . DOMINI [star]; below, on a scroll, B. VIRGINI ARCINORVM PATRONAE.
The foundation medal for the suburban church of Santa Maria dell' Assunzione in Ariccia, commissioned from the architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini by Pope Alexander VII, and completed in 1665. Like many foundation medals, it records the formative rather than the final stage of the building's design. The medal, which was ready by 28 January 1662, pre-dates by at least a year the decision to frame the round church with loggie. An entry in the diary of Alexander VII (13 December 1661) documents Bernini's responsibility for the design of the commemorative medal.
Obverse Bust to left, a portrait of Fabio Chigi, Pope Alexander VII (1655-1667), wearing cope with embroidery of Christ as the Redeemer, and tiara. Around, ALEX . VII . PONT . MAX . A . VII ; below truncation, 1662. Reverse View of the Piazza del Popolo, showing the three streets running off the piazza: at right the Via Leonina (later di Ripetta), in the centre Via Larga (later del Corso), and at left the Via Paolino (later del Babuino), with the churches of Santa Maria dei Miracoli (right) and Santa Maria di Montesanto (left), a in foreground the obelisk set up by Domenico Fontana in 1589. Around, SAPIENTIA . IN . PLATEIS . DAT . VOCEM . SVAM; below, MDCLXII (Wisdom gives voice in the squares of the city, Proverbs, I, 20).
This foundation medal for the twin churches in the Piazza del Popolo is one of the most picturesque of all papal architectural medals. The piazza is shown busy with pedestrians and carriages, clouds float overhead, and behind the new churches, a complete townscape is visible. The high degree of illusionism is typical of the designs furnished by Gian Lorenzo Bernini to the papal medallist Travani, and it is generally assumed that the scene of the piazza depends from a Berninesque model so far undiscovered. The reverse records the architect Carlo Rainaldi's design at the time of laying the cornerstone of S. Maria di Montesanto on 15 July 1662; subsequently, Rainaldi added free-standing porticoes to that church, Carlo Fontana instituted further changes in 1664, and Rainaldi made additional modifications himself in 1665.
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).
Obverse Bust of Giulio Rospigliosi, Pope Clement IX (1667-1669), bearded, in profile to left, wearing cassock, cap, and stole. Around, CLEM . IX . PONT . MAX . A . III . Reverse the two Saints, Peter of Alcantara, left, and Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi, right, kneel upon a cloud facing one another, the Holy Spirit above centre. Around, ADDITVM ECCLESIAE MVNIMEN ET DECVS; below, on scrolls, S . PETRVS DE ALCANTARA – S. M. MAGDALENA DE PAZZIS.
This medal commemorating the canonisation (28 April 1669) of the ecstatic mystics Peter of Alcantara (1499-1562), a Spanish Franciscan, and Maria Maddalena dei Pazzi (1566-1607), a Florentine Carmelite, was the annual medal of 1669. The most gifted artist of the day, Gianlorenzo Bernini, supplied the papal medallist, Gaspare Morone Mola, with a modello for the reverse; it is the only known occasion that Bernini was entrusted by Clement IX with design of a papal medal. Bernini did not choose to depict the rites in St. Peter’s, but to show the two Saints in direct communion with the Holy Spirit: “his play of opposites – male and female, active and passive – lends a characteristically baroque tension to the seemingly simple composition. Both iconographically and stylistically Bernini, through Morone as intermediary, has added a new dimension to the medallic repertory”. This superb example from the Michael Hall collection was exhibited in 1981 (Mount Holyoke College Museum of Art; then David and Alfred Smart Gallery, the University of Chicago; and University of Michigan Museum of Art).
Obverse Bust to right, a portrait of Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680), with cloak draped over shoulder. Around, EQVES IOA LAVRENT BERNINVS ETATIS SVE; in exergue, ANNO 76 1674. Signed on the truncation, F. CHERON. Reverse Allegorical figures of painting, sculpture, architecture and mathematics. Around, SINGVLARIS IN SINGVLIS IN OMNIBVS VNICVS. Signed in exergue, F. CHERON.
This medallic portrait of the sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini was commissioned from Charles Jean-François Chéron by Louis XIV, to commemorate Bernini’s brief tenure at the French court (June-November 1665), during which he had designed projects for the new Louvre and carved a marble bust of the King. “Chéron’s portrait appears to depend on no known prototype, so it may be assumed that Bernini sat to the medallist, or commissioned draughtsman, specifically for this purpose” (Timothy Clifford). The reverse shows, in allegorical form, the arts in which Bernini excelled: sculpture, architecture, and painting, with the motto “Singular in each, unparalleled in all”. At the centre of the medal, a female personification of Sculpture carves a marble bust. Before Sculpture stands Architecture, holding the instruments of her profession, and in dialogue with Mathematics; at the left is Painting, holding a palette and brushes, with her covered mouth defining painting as “a silent art”. The mask hanging from Painting’s neck may be an allusion to Bernini’s scenographic activities.
Obverse Bust to left, a portrait of Carlo Fontana, in the robes of the Knights of Christ. Around, eqves carolvs fontana et | atis sve a. xxxxiii. Reverse Modelled in low relief, depicting Architecture holding a pair of dividers in one hand, and a scroll in the other, the instruments of the other Fine Arts (the palette and brushes of Painting; the drill, mallet, and chisels of Sculpture) littered on the ground beneath her feet. Around, svperemin et omnes.
A portrait medal of Carlo Fontana (1638-1714), aged forty-three, wearing the robes of the Knights of Christ, the papal order awarded to successful artists. After Bernini’s death in 1680, Fontana had been put in charge of the secular papal buildings; he soon became the leading architect in Rome. The obverse is also found with the lettering divided e | tatis and initials on the truncation G.A.L. (variously interpreted to signify Antonio Galeotti or Giovanni Andrea Lorenzani) with various dents, abrasions, and flattenings. Our example, lettered et | atis, has no signature, and is unblemished. It is likely that the pieces signed G.A.L. are “after casts” (surmoulages) made in the 1690s, when Fontana was at the height of his fame, busy remodelling the baptismal Chapel of St. Peter’s, shortly to be appointed architect of St. Peter’s (1697). As such, they could have been circulated by either Galeotti or Lorenzani, whose recorded activities date from the 1690s. The author is however surely another medallist, someone capable of executing unusually fine sculptural detail, and working at a date closer to Fontana’s forty-third birthday.
Obverse Bust to right, a portrait of Antonio Pignatelli, Pope Innocent XII (1691-1700), bearded, wearing cassock, cap, and stole ornamented with cross and Pignatelli insignia. Around, INNOCEN . XII PONT . OPT . MAX . A . III; below truncation, in a flamboyant script BEATRIX . HAMERANA. Reeded border. Reverse A pelican standing on a pedestal adorned by papal insignia and date 1694, tearing its breast to feed other birds with its blood, a vast rocky landscape behind, and another flock of pelicans in the sky. Around, SINVM . SVVM . APERVIT . EGENIS, and on a pedestal, 1694. Reeded border.
The only silver example known of this cast medal, depicting on its obverse the 76-year old Pope Innocent XII, and on the reverse, a pelican reviving her chicks with her own blood, the traditional depiction of Christian charity. The medal was created by Beatrice Hamerani, the youngest person (she was not yet seventeen years of age) and for three centuries the only woman to have produced a papal medal. Goethe possessed an example in bronze, which his artistic advisor, Johann Heinrich Meyer (1760-1832), famously described as “undoubtedly one of the most skilful, expressive, and powerful productions of art which ever came from the hands of a woman”.
Obverse Bust to right, a portrait of Antonio Pignatelli, Pope Innocent XII (1691-1700), bearded, wearing cassock, cap, and stole. Around, INNOCEN . XII . PONT . MAX; below truncation, HAMERANUS . Reeded border. Reverse Virgin Mary to front, standing behind a parapet, her right arm around the infant Christ who stands to front on parapet, his right hand raised in benediction Around, SVB TVVM PRÆSIDIVM, the Pignatelli insignia and date 1699 centred beneath. Reeded border.
A superb original striking in silver. This medal commemorates Giuseppe Conti’s “Virgin and Child” mosaic in the clock tower of the papal palace on the Quirinal, begun by Conti during the summer of 1697 and completed on 28 June 1698. The design of the mosaic is derived from a bozzetto in oils by Carlo Maratti (Musei Vaticani, Inv. 40397); an engraving published in 1698 to commemorate completion of the mosaic may have been Hamerani’s model.