Portrait medal of Cardinal Francesco degli Alidosi (obverse); Jupiter and Signs of the Zodiac (reverse)
Francesco Francia (Italian, Bologna ca. 1447–1517 Bologna)
Bronze (copper alloy with a honey-colored
Diam. 6 cm, wt. 72.9 g.
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975
Not on view
As a protégé of Pope Julius II, Francesco degli Alidosi advanced rapidly through ecclesiastical ranks, acting as a papal ambassador and commander of papal forces in wars against Venice and French invaders of Italy. In the first decade of the sixteenth century, he served as cardinal of Pavia, legate to Bologna and Romagna, and bishop of Bologna. Generally resented for his meteoric rise and activities as legate, Alidosi was murdered by a rival military commander. The reverse of Francesco degli Alidosi’s medal is an astrological reference to his career, showing Jupiter in a cart drawn by two eagles and holding a thunderbolt in his left hand. Below are two zodiac signs: Pisces and Sagittarius, the signs of the planet Jupiter. This is the only medal generally acknowledged to be from the hand of the Bolognese painter Francesco Francia.
Inscription: Inscribed on the obverse: · ALIDOXIVS· CAR[dinalis]· PAPIEN[sis]· BON[oniae]· ROMANDIOLAE· Q[ue] C· LEGAT· FR; inscribed on the reverse: HISAVIBVS CVRRVQ[ue] CITO DVCERIS AD ASTRA
Henry Oppenheimer, London; Oppenheimer
sale, Christie’s, London, 27 July 1936, lot 67, including
No. 98 (1975.1.1275) and another medal (to [ John
Hunt, London]). Acquired by Robert Lehman through Hunt
from the Oppenheimer sale.