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The Sacrifice of Iphigeneia

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Italy (made)

  • Date:

    first half of 16th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Belli, Valerio, born 1468 - died 1546 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cast bronze

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This oval bronze plaquette depicts the sacrifice of Iphigeneia and is made by Valerio Belli in the first half of the 16th century.

Belli (1468-1546) was born into a respected Vicentine family. He trained as a goldsmith and developed considerable skills in engraving crystals and dies. For Pope Clement VII he created his masterpiece, a crystal casket with 24 scenes from the life of Christ, now in the Palazzo Pitti in Florence.
Belli was strongly influenced by Raphael and Michelangelo.
He had a facility to work very quickly, and Vasari noted that Belli had flooded the world with his works.

Plaquettes are small plaques made of bronze, brass, lead or precious metals. They originated in the 1440ies with the desire to reproduce coins and hardstone engravings from ancient Greece and Rome. Some were made as collector's pieces, to be viewed and displayed in private, and others for practical purposes. They also inspired designs in other media, from architecture to bookbindings.

Physical description

Plaquette depicts: to the right is the figure of Iphigenia kneeling before an altar, while the priest brandishes an axe over her head; on the left are several persons, one of whom seems to reproach Iphigenia.

Place of Origin

Italy (made)


first half of 16th century (made)


Belli, Valerio, born 1468 - died 1546 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Cast bronze


Height: 4.1 cm, Width: 3.55 cm

Object history note

Used as the reverse of a medal of François Billon.
Acquired in London

Descriptive line

Plaquette, bronze, Sacrifice of Iphigenia, by Valerio Belli, Italy, first half of 16th century

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

Inventory of Works of Art Acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum in the Years 1903 - 1904. In: List of Works of Art Acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum, During the Year 1904, Arranged According to the Dates of Acquisition with Appendix and Indices. London: Printed for His Majesty's Stationery Office, by Wyman and Sons, Limited, 1908, p. 161
Maclagan, Eric. Catalogue of Italian Plaquettes . London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1924, p. 66





Subjects depicted

Sacrifice; Priest; Altar; Trees; Persons; Axe


Myths & Legends; Plaques & Plaquettes; Sculpture; Metalwork


Sculpture Collection

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