Pisanello (Antonio Pisano) (Italian, Pisa or Verona by 1395–1455)
model 1439 (possibly cast 17th century)
Diam. 9.1 cm, wt. 380.05 g.
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975
Not on view
Active in Verona and the Italian courts, the celebrated master Pisanello left behind a significant legacy, including a large corpus of drawings, several paintings, and the devopment of the Renaissance portrait medal. Inspired by Roman coins, with their portraits of rulers and allegorical representations on the reverse, the medals commemorated individuals or events and functioned as gifts and mementoes. This medal commemorated the visit of the Byzantine emperor John VIII Palaeologus (1392 – 1448) to Ferrara in 1438 to attend the ecumenical congress of the Greek and Latin churches. The obverse depicts the Emperor's portrait while the reverse portrays him riding in a rocky landscape. Possibly the first medal produced by Pisanello, its design set a standard format for many future commemorative medals. This heavily worn aftercast possibly dates to the seventeenth century.
Inscription: Inscribed on the obverse: IΩANNHC· BACILEVC· KAI· AVTO· KPATΩP· PΩMAIΩN· O·PALAIOLOGOC·;annotated in ink on the reverse: 407 and [illegible].
Charles Butler, Warren Wood, Hatfield; Butler sale, Sotheby’s, London, 3 – 11 July 1911, lot 910; Henry Oppenheimer, London; Oppenheimer sale, Christie’s, London, 27 July 1936, lot 9, including No. 47 (1975.1.1309) (for £38 to [ John Hunt, London]). Acquired by Robert Lehman through Hunt from the Oppenheimer sale.