This exhibition is the first to present the Renaissance portrait medals of the Robert Lehman Collection. The selection features approximately 30 medals from Italy and Northern Europe, including early bronze examples by Pisanello, the celebrated artist who invented this art form in the mid-15th century, as well as rare wax models dating to the 17th century. Works of technical and stylistic virtuosity, the medals combine poignant portraits of contemporary rulers, dignitaries, and literary figures on one side, and rich, symbolic imagery on the other. The commemorative medal epitomized seminal cultural values of the Renaissance period, namely, the emphasis on the primacy of the individual and the revival of classical antiquity.
The exhibition, which explores the development and role of the portrait medal in Renaissance culture, as well as production techniques, celebrates the recently published catalogue of the Lehman Collection's holdings of European sculpture and metalwork.
Massimiliano Soldani (Italian, 1656–1740). Francesco Redi, 1677. Model for medal, wax on slate, Diam. 6.6 cm. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Robert Lehman Collection, 1975 (1975.1.1320 a)