Portrait medal of Jacopo Antonio Sorra (obverse); A Nude Male Figure Shooting Arrows (reverse),

Antonio Abondio Italian

Antonio Abondio was an Italian medallist who achieved great success in the courts north of the Alps. Abondio appears to have left Italy first in 1565–6 for employment by the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II in Innsbruck and Ambras and by the Emperor Maximilian II. This is Abondio’s earliest dated medal, probably cast in Milan before he left Italy for the imperial court in Vienna.

Nothing is known of the sitter, who may have been a member of the Sorra family of Modena and Bologna. The reverse depicts a nude man shooting arrows at a mark—an allusion to the aurea mediocritas (the middle way or golden mean) and the exercise of prudence. The inference is: Do not aim for perfection, which even the gods cannot achieve. The inscription, Non Semper, translates as "not always."

Not on view

Public Domain

Object Details

Artist: Antonio Abondio (Italian, Trento 1538–1591 Vienna)

Date: 1561 (possibly contemporary cast)

Medium: Bronze (Copper alloy with a worn, dark
brown patina over a light brown patina)

Dimensions: Diam. 4.9 cm, wt. 32.07 g.

Classification: Medals

Credit Line: Robert Lehman Collection, 1975

Accession Number: 1975.1.1261

Inscription: Inscribed on the obverse: I A C[obus]·ANT[onius]· SORRA 1561;
inscribed on the reverse: NON SEMPER
Adalbert von Lanna, Prague; Lanna sale, Rudolph Lepke, Berlin, 13 – 15 May 1911, lot 1075; Henry Oppenheimer, London; Oppenheimer sale, Christie’s, London, 28 July 1936, lot 183 (to [ John Hunt, London]). Acquired by Robert Lehman through Hunt from the Oppenheimer sale.