Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta thumbnail 1
Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta thumbnail 2
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Medieval & Renaissance, Room 64, The Wolfson Gallery

Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta

Medal
1445 (dated)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This medal depicts the portrait bust of Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta and is made by Pisanello in 1445.

Antonio Pisano (b.ca. 1395; d. 1455) was born Pisa or Verona, by 1395. He was an Italian painter, draughtsman and medallist. His richly decorative frescoes, courtly and elegant 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.

The depicted Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta (1417-1468) was a noble, soldier and patron. Apart from his numerous political and military activities he made the city of Rimini into an important Renaissance centre for art, science and learning.
He was one of the first to realise the propaganda potential of medal-art and commissioned Pisanello to make some 15 medals.
He has been represented as one of the most disreputable but highly cultured rulers of the Renaissance. Burkhardt wrote: ‘Unscrupulousness, impiety, military skill and high culture have been seldom so combined in one individual as in Sigismondo Malatesta’.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Cast bronze
Brief Description
Medal, bronze, of Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta (1417-1468), by Pisanello, Italy (Verona), dated 1445
Physical Description
Medal in bronze of Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta (1417-1468).

Obverse: Malatesta, to right and bareheaded, in armour, with inscription.

Reverse: Malatesta mounted, in full armour, riding to the left. His right hand is raised, holding a mace. Behind, among rocks, a fortress with two towers, one bearing the date, 'M.CCCC.XLV.', and the other the Malatesta arms. Signature.
Dimensions
  • Diameter: 10.3cm
  • Depth: 0.4cm
  • Weight: 0.38kg
Measured for the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries
Marks and Inscriptions
  • Inscribed in Latin, ‘Work of Pisano the painter’ and ‘1445’ in Roman numerals Obverse inscribed in Latin, ‘Sigismondo Malatesta of Rimini etcetera and captain general of the Roman Church’
  • 'SIGISMVNDVS. DE. MALATESIS. ARIMINI 7 C. ET. ROMANE. ECLLESIE CAPITANEVS. / GENERALIS.' (obverse)
  • 'M.CCCC.XLV.' (date on reverse)
  • 'OPVS PISANI PICTORIS' (reverse)
Credit line
Salting Bequest
Object history
From the Salting bequest.
Subjects depicted
Summary
This medal depicts the portrait bust of Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta and is made by Pisanello in 1445.



Antonio Pisano (b.ca. 1395; d. 1455) was born Pisa or Verona, by 1395. He was an Italian painter, draughtsman and medallist. His richly decorative frescoes, courtly and elegant 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.



The depicted Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta (1417-1468) was a noble, soldier and patron. Apart from his numerous political and military activities he made the city of Rimini into an important Renaissance centre for art, science and learning.

He was one of the first to realise the propaganda potential of medal-art and commissioned Pisanello to make some 15 medals.

He has been represented as one of the most disreputable but highly cultured rulers of the Renaissance. Burkhardt wrote: ‘Unscrupulousness, impiety, military skill and high culture have been seldom so combined in one individual as in Sigismondo Malatesta’.
Bibliographic References
  • 'Salting Bequest (A. 70 to A. 1029-1910) / Murray Bequest (A. 1030 to A. 1096-1910)'. In: List of Works of Art Acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum (Department of Architecture and Sculpture). London: Printed under the Authority of his Majesty's Stationery Office, by Eyre and Spottiswoode, Limited, East Harding Street, EC, p. 17
  • Syson, Luke and Gordon, Dillian.Pisanello: Painter to the Renaissance Court, London : National Gallery Co., 2001123
  • Pisanello : Le Peintre aux Sept Vertus, Paris : Réunion des musées nationaux, 1996277
Collection
Accession Number
A.167-1910

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record createdFebruary 23, 2004
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