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Cosimo de' Medici

  • Object:

    Medal

  • Place of origin:

    Florence (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1480-1500 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Bronze

  • Museum number:

    A.284-1910

  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 64, The Wolfson Gallery, case SS, shelf 3

The study in Renaissance Italy was the ideal place to house collections of both antique and modern works. Contemporary images and descriptions show that studies varied from the well organised to the haphazard, with functional objects like candlesticks, inkstands and bells sitting alongside collectibles such as medals, gems and antique coins. Some were kept on the desk, while others were stored in cupboards, or placed on shelves ready to be lifted down and admired or used.

This medal depicts Cosimo de' Medici the first of the Medici political dynasty, de facto rulers of Florence during most of the Italian Renaissance. The Medici were bankers, and their company was one of the most important in Europe. But the head of the family, Cosimo de' Medici (1389-1464), was also the unofficial ruler of the Florentine Republic. Here he is shown with the letters PPP for 'Pater Patriae' (Father of the Fatherland). This title, taken from classical Rome, was given him after his death.

Physical description

Medal depicts on the obverse the bust to the left of Cosimo de' Medici, wearing a flat cap. Inscription. On the reverse a female figure, for Florence, seated on a throne, the whole placed above a yoke. Inscription.

Place of Origin

Florence (made)

Date

ca. 1480-1500 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Bronze

Marks and inscriptions

'MAGNVS COSMVS MEDICES P P P'
Pater Patriae (Father of the Fatherland)
obverse

'PAX LIBERTASQVE PVBLICA - FLORENTIA'
reverse

Dimensions

Diameter: 7.7 cm

Object history note

From the Salting bequest.

Descriptive line

Medal, bronze, Cosimo de' Medici, by an unknown medallist, Florence, ca.1480-1500

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

'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. 40
Avery, Charles. Donatello, an Introduction. New York 1994, pp. 108-9
Avery, Charles. Donatello. Catalogo Completo delle Opere. Florence, 1991, p. 146, cat.no. 83
Warren, Jeremy, with contributions from Kim, S. and Kosinova, A., The Wallace Collection Catalogue of Italian Sculpture, Vol. 1, London, 2016, p.51, fig. 9.2

Ajmar-Wollheim, Marta and Flora Dennis, At Home in Renaissance Italy, London: V&A Publishing, 2006.

Labels and date

MEDAL of Cosimo de' Medici
About 1480-1500

The Medici were bankers, and their company was one of the most in Europe. But the head of the family, Cosimo de' Medici (1389-1464), was also the unofficial ruler of the Florentine Republic. Here he is shown with the letters PPP for 'Pater Patriae' (Father of the Fatherland). This title, taken from classical Rome, was given him after his death.

Italy, Florence

Bronze

Obverse (front)

Museum no. A.284-1910 [2008]

Materials

Bronze

Subjects depicted

Orb; Throne

Categories

Coins & Medals; Portraits; Sculpture

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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