Cincinnatus at the Plough

Artist: Filarete (Antonio di Pietro Averlino) (Italian, Florence ca. 1400–ca. 1469 Rome)

Date: mid-15th century

Culture: Italian, Rome

Medium: Bronze

Dimensions: Overall (confirmed): H. 2 1/2 x W. 5 5/16 x D. 1/8 in. (6.4 x 13.6 x 0.4 cm)

Classification: Medals and Plaquettes

Credit Line: Edith Perry Chapman Fund, 1996

Accession Number: 1996.116


Filarete was the earliest Renaissance maker of bronze plaquettes after his own designs, byproducts of his work on the bronze double door of Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome (ca. 1433–45). The door's main reliefs have Christian subjects, but its borders contain figures and myths from classical antiquity. This energetic scene shows the reluctant Roman dictator Cincinnatus, who preferred the rewards of farming to the highest state honors. Only two other examples are known (Staatliche Münzsammlung, Berlin; and Musée du Louvre, Paris).