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Antonio Pisano dit Pisanello

Marriage Medal of Leonello d'Este

Artist

Antonio Pisano dit Pisanello
Pisa about 1395 – Rome 1455

Title

Marriage Medal of Leonello d'Este

Date

1444

Materials

Lead

Dimensions

1 cm (h.), 10 cm (diam.)

Credits

Gift of F. Cleveland Morgan, inv. 1957.Dm.3

Collection

Decorative Arts and Design

Antonio Pisano, called Pisanello, arguably the greatest medallist of the early Italian Renaissance, produced the first portrait medals since antiquity. Leonello d’Este, Duke of Ferrara, commissioned this medal in honor of his marriage to Maria of Aragon in 1444. On the reverse of the medal is an allegory of this event, represented by a lion being subdued by Cupid, overseen by an eagle, the emblem of the house of d’Este. This is one of the first medals since the fall of the Roman Empire imitating a Roman coin, the bust of Leonello in profile with the arms cut off at the shoulders. The Latin inscription states that he is not only Duke but also King of Ferrara, Reggio and Modena, another allusion to classical Imperial prototypes.

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