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Medal - Leonello d'Este

Leonello d'Este

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Italy (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1443 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Pisanello (medallist)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This is a bronze medal made by Antonio Pisano (Pisanello) in Italy, about 1443. The obverse of this medal represents Leonello d'Este, the Marquess of Ferrara, and the reverse shows two naked men seated before a spreading sail.

Pisanello (Antonio Pisano) (b.ca. 1395; d. 1455) who was born in Pisa or Verona, by 1395 was an Italian painter, draughtsman and medallist. His richly decorative frescoes, courtly and elegantly painted portraits and highly original portrait medals made him one of the most popular artists of the day. He travelled extensively and worked for several Italian courts, at Mantua, Ferrara, Pavia, Milan and Naples. Many of his paintings have been lost or damaged, making a reconstruction of his career difficult. He is now better known as a medallist.

Two-sided Renaissance portrait medals were a form developed by Pisanello, and commemorated individuals or events and functioned as gifts and mementoes. They were inspired by the Roman coins, with their portraits of rulers and allegorical representations on the reverse, excavated all over Italy and eagerly collected by humanist scholars.

Place of Origin

Italy (made)


ca. 1443 (made)


Pisanello (medallist)

Materials and Techniques



Diameter: 6.66 cm

Object history note

Bought from the Soulages Collection in 1865, for £3.

Descriptive line

Medal, bronze, Leonello d'Este/two naked men, by Antonio Pisanello, Italian, ca. 1443

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

Inventory of Art Objects acquired in the Year 1865. 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. 38
Robinson, John Charles. Catalogue of the Soulages Collection. London: Chapman & Hall, 1856, p. 143
Hill, G. F. A Corpus of Italian Medals of the Renaissance before Cellini. London: British Museum, 1920, no. 492



Subjects depicted

Men; Sail


Coins & Medals; Portraits


Sculpture Collection

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