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Medal - Allegory of Bad Government
  • Allegory of Bad Government
    Flötner, Peter, born 1485 - died 1546
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Allegory of Bad Government

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Nuremberg (made)

  • Date:

    1540-1546 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Flötner, Peter, born 1485 - died 1546 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Sculpture, Room 111, The Gilbert Bayes Gallery, case 3, shelf 5

This is a lead medal, depicting the Allegory of Bad Government, made by Peter Flötner in about 1540.

For some sculptural commissions, a leading artist such as Giambologna made only the model and the work was executed by others. Ideas were also transmitted by terracotta models, plaquettes and engravings, as well as by decorative objects for which sculptors had provided designs. The Nuremberg sculptor Peter Flötner was one of the most versatile artists and designers of the German Renaissance. Flötner (ca. 1485-1546) was a sculptor, medallist, cabinetmaker, woodcutter and designer. He worked initially in Augsburg from around 1512 to 1516 before moving to Nuremberg where he became a citizen in 1522.
His virtuosity as a sculptor is evident from his plaquettes in lead, bronze and Solnhofen limestone. Flötner produced several series of plaquettes, among them The Virtues, Eminent Women of Classical Antiquity and The Seven Gods of the Planets. The frequency with which goldsmiths and other craftsmen copied his reliefs is an indication of their popularity. His workshop catered for bell-founders, goldsmiths, pewterers and medallists supplying them with plaques made of lead, tin, bronze and solnhofen limestone. They were used like pattern books. The plaques were arranged in lines and a clay or plaster mould was made from them. In these moulds wax models were cast which were then applied to the outside of the wax models of bells, mortars and tankards before they were cast in metal.

Physical description

Rev. only, an emperor squeezing a sponge in front of whom is a jester.

Place of Origin

Nuremberg (made)


1540-1546 (made)


Flötner, Peter, born 1485 - died 1546 (maker)

Materials and Techniques



Diameter: 6.7 cm

Object history note

Provenance: Tross. 140 medals and reliefs were purchased from M. Henri Tross of Paris for £500 by J.C. Robinson for the Museum in 1867.

Descriptive line

Medal, lead, Allegory of Bad Government, by Peter Flötner, Germany (Nuremberg), ca. 1540-6

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Inventory of Art Objects acquired in the Year 1867. Inventory of the Objects in the Art Division of the Museum at South Kensington, arranged According to the Dates of their Acquisition. Vol. 1. London : Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., 1868, p. 17
Weber, I. Deutsche, Niederländische, und Französische Renaissance Plaketten. Munich, 1975, p. 63, no. 43



Subjects depicted

Emperor; Fool; Sponge




Sculpture Collection

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