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This is a very rare Renaissance bronze medal of Lucrezia Borgia, celebrating her 3rd marriage to Alfonso I d'Este, 3rd Duke of Ferrara. It is an original medal of high relief with some rubbing to the highpoints due to centuries of handling. These early medals were cast from hand-finished wax models (rather than struck with metal dies). This example was created by an unknown Mantuan sculptor in Italy - there are letters attributed to Lucrezia thanking Pietro Bembo for showing her medals and the technique designs - "Trusting in your skill which I appreciated these past days when considering certain designs for medallions, and having decided to have one made according to that most subtle and most apt suggestion you gave me, I thought I would send it to you with this letter, and lest it be mixed with some other element that could detract from its value I thought also to ask you herewith kindly to take the trouble for love of me to think I shall remain as obliged to you as you deserve and the work must be esteemed. I await your reply with great anticipation. Prepared for your command, Lucretia de Borgia" She may have been refering to the design of this medal that bears one of few contemporary portraits of her, made during her lifetime.
Obverse Description: Bust of Lucretia facing left; around, LVCRETIA . BORGIA . ESTEN . FERRARIAE . MVT . AC . REGII . D .
Reverse Description: Cupid in front of tree with violin etc. hanging from tablet bearing the legend, BC/FPHFF/EN; around, VIRTVTI . AC . FORMAE . PVDICITIA . PRAECIOSIS . SIMMVM
This is a fabulously rare item from the early 16th century made to celebrate a wedding of Lucretzia and Alfonso, issued during the lifetime of Pope Alexander VI (Rodrigo de Borja) and Cesare Borgia (the inspiration for 'The Prince' by Machiavelli). Very few of these medals would have been commissioned and produced, most are kept in museums around the world.
DATE: c. 1502 - 1505 A.D.
SIZE: 54.13mm diameter x 10.32 thick
WEIGHT: 77.70 grams
PROVENANCE: Ex. Private Collection, Lyon. France.