Monogrammed "AN:AB" for Antonio Abondio (Italian, 1538–1591)
Diam. each 2 5/16 in. (5.9 cm)
Purchase, J. Pierpont Morgan, by exchange, 1989 (1989.12.2,3)
These medal portrayals of the Holy Roman Emperor and his wife Maria are cast separate with plain reverse, but the couple can be found united on one medal as well. The separation of the images allowed to compare both captivating profiles as companion pieces side by side, but also enabled craftsmen to incorporate them in other Kunstkammer and presentation objects, such as ebony cabinets or boxes, silver drinking vessels, or precious jewelry mounts. Abondio entered the service of Emperor Maximillian II (r. 156476) in Vienna in 1566 and was kept on by his son Rudolf II (r. 15761612). The artist later moved with the imperial court from Vienna to Prague. His strength was in the imposing characterization of princely portraiture in which he never neglected his love for minute ornamental details.