DETAIL : COLOGNE SCHOOL Germany Virgin and Child with Saints [Triptych of the Virgin and Child with Saints (left panel) Virgin and Child with Saints (left panel)]
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Antonio PISANELLO | Portrait of Niccolò Piccinino, condottiere (obverse); She-griffin of Perugia suckling children (reverse)
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Antonio PISANELLO | Portrait of Niccolò Piccinino, condottiere (obverse); She-griffin of Perugia suckling children (reverse)
reverse
 
Antonio PISANELLO
Italy 1375/1415 – 1455
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Portrait of Niccolò Piccinino, condottiere (obverse);
She-griffin of Perugia suckling children (reverse) c.1440-41
Metalwork
bronze
8.8 cm (diameter)
obverse relief: "NICOLAVS.PICININVS.VICECOMES. MARCHIO.CAPITANEVS.MAX.AC.MARS.ALTER", title, signed reverse relief: "BRACCIVS.PISANI.P.OPVS.N.PICININVS";
"PERVSIA" on collar
Purchased 1986
NGA 1986.1809
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Biography

Pisanello, also known as Antonio di Puccio Pisano, was born in the 1390s, probably in Verona. He was a pupil of Gentile da Fabbriano and thus a representative of the end of the northern Italian Late Gothic style. His work has also been seen as the first flowering of 'the more advanced tendencies and achievements of Renaissance art.' An accomplished and celebrated fresco and panel painter, he was famous as a sculptor for his invention (or reinvention) of the medal. The personal commemorative medal was based on Roman, and possibly Greek, coins of antiquity. It has been defined as 'a piece of relief sculpture, usually round, of suitable dimensions for holding in the hand. Its two faces are intended to relate to each other artistically and symbolically; the obverse usually presents a visual representation of the subject while the reverse bears a symbolic representation.' Pisanello created about twenty-four medals, usually celebrating the political or military achievements of the court rulers for whom he worked. These included the Gonzaga of Mantua, the Este of Ferrara, the Visconti and Sforza of Milan, the Montefeltro of Urbino and the court of Aragon in Naples. Some panel paintings of rulers and their wives remain, a few subject paintings, many drawings, and frescoes in Verona and Mantua; his Venetian frescoes are lost. He died, possibly in Rome, Pisa or Naples, in 1455.

  1. J.G. Pollock, 'Antonio Pisanello', Grove Dictionary of Art
  2. Alan M. Stahl, 'Introduction', The medal in America, Coinage of the Americas, American Numismatics Society Conference, 26-27 September 1987, www.amnumsoc.org/coac/c87intr.htm
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