Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Portrait medal of Scaramuccia Trivulzio (obverse); Prudence (reverse)

ca. 1517 (before 1527; old cast)
Italian, Milan
Bronze (copper alloy with a honeycolored patina.)
Diam. 5.6 cm, wt. 56.84 g.
Credit Line:
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975 1975.1.1253
Accession Number:
Not on view
This medal belongs to the Milanese School, known for uniformly high-quality work and the evident influence of such artists as Leone Leoni and Jacopo da Trezzo. The subtle modeling has produced a sympathetic characterization of a man described by contemporaries as pious and learned. Scaramuccia di Gianfermo Trivulzio became an advisor to King Louis XII of France and was named Cardinal of Saint Cyriaco under Pope Leo X.
On the reverse, an allegorical figure of Prudence holds a mirror in her left hand and compasses in her right. The mirror symbolizes not vanity but the wise man’s capacity to see himself honestly, and the compasses represent measured judgment. The dragon at her feet stands for the serpent referred to in Matthew 10:16: "Be ye wise as serpents."
Inscription: Inscribed on the obverse: SCARAMVTIA·
TRIVVL[tius]· CAR[dinalis]· COMEN[sis]· IO[annis]·
FIRMI· PRIMI· F[ilius]; inscribed on the reverse: HAEC·
T. Whitcombe Greene, Bath;1 Henry Oppenheimer, London; Oppenheimer sale, Christie’s, London, 27 July 1936, lot 113 (to [ John Hunt, London]). Acquired by Robert Lehman through Hunt from the Oppenheimer sale.
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