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Maître IO.F.F.

Allegory with a Woman on a Dragon


Maître IO.F.F.
Giovanni Francesco Ruberti (?), active in Mantua, 1483-1526


Allegory with a Woman on a Dragon


Late 15th-early 16th c.




5.8 cm (diam.)


Gift of Dr. Paul D. Leblanc, inv. 2007.104


Western Art

The initials IO.F.F appear at the base of several bronze plaquettes notable for their detail and delicacy and evidently by the same hand. The artist has been variously identified with the Mantuan artist Giovanni Francesco Ruberti, the Pisan gem carver Giovanni delle Corniole, and the Cremonese sculptor Giovanni Fonduli, though the evidence is still inconclusive. What is known is that he hailed from north of Rome and was active in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries.

The allegorical or mythological subject matter of this plaquette has not been identified. A clothed woman is seated on a dragon, facing a standing nude male youth raising a palm branch in his right hand. Another woman with a suspended disc or mirror stands behind the seated figure. Left of the male youth is another male figure holding a pole on which is set a bearded, decapitated head in a Phrygian bonnet. At the extreme left is an altar to the mythological deity Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt.

Plaquettes such as this one were very popular in Italy in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Their light weight and small size allowed viewers to hold them in their hand for careful inspection.

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