Medal: John VIII Palaeologus

Pisanello (Antonio Pisano) Italian

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.

Medal:  John VIII Palaeologus, Pisanello (Antonio Pisano) (Italian, Pisa or Verona by 1395–1455), Lead.

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.