Featured German Renaissance Medal - Charles de Solier by Christoph Weiditz

Discussion in 'World Coins' started by Iosephus, Jun 6, 2020.

  1. Iosephus

    Iosephus Well-Known Member

    Charles de Solier

    By Christoph Weiditz, c. 1530-31.

    Silver, 58.7 mm Ø, 87.7 g

    Obverse: Bust of Charles de Solier facing slightly left, bearded, wearing a decorated hat and gown with fur collar. Around, ✿ CAROLVS • DE • SOLARIO • DNS • MORETY • ANNV • AGENS • L (Charles de Solier, Lord of Morette, Aged 50).

    Reverse: On the left, a rearing horse with saddle facing right on a rocky shoreline. On the right, a dolphin in the water holding the reins of the horse in its mouth. In the background, a cloud. Around, ✿ VIRTVS • ET • FORTVA • VIROS • EXERCET • ET • ORNAT (Virtue and Fortune Drive and Adorn Men).

    Charles de Solier (1480-1552) was a French diplomat, serving as French ambassador under Francis I to the English Court of Henry VIII from 1534 to 1535. There is also a painting of de Solier by Hans Holbein the Younger, with the sitter dressed the same and in a slightly differing pose:


    This painting has been dated to c. 1534 when de Solier would have been in London and could have sat for Holbein, who was the court painter for Henry VIII. It has been suggested that Weiditz based his portrait on that by Holbein, though this would then be the only work of Weiditz based on that of another artist. Dating problems also exist, since the age of 50 given on the medal would mean either that Holbein's painting was done earlier than believed, or that the age on the medal was inaccurate. Clarity on this issue is likely impossible.

    Weiditz was unusual among German medallists of this period in that he often employed figurative reverse designs, rather than an armorial or text reverse. It has been suggested that the horse and dolphin represent the entities of virtue and fortune, respectively, which are named in the inscription. The dolphin holding the reins of the horse might imply that fortune constrains virtue.

    It was noted in recent literature (1990, 1994) that only the wood model existed and that no actual medals of this design were known. However, in addition to this piece, another silver example was sold in a 2017 auction. Leonard Forrer also mentions a bronze cast in his "Biographical Dictionary of Medallists" published in 1904, though he erroneously attributes it to Peter Flötner. Furthermore, a medal with this design is noted in an article by Giacinto Cerrato in "Nvmismatica e Scienze Affini", Anno V, N. 4 (1939).

    References: Habich 1929-34, no. 398; Trusted 1990, no. 183; Scher 1994, no. 91
    TheRed, yarm, TuckHard and 7 others like this.
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  3. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    That medal is amazing and so are Holbein paintings. The photorealism of 500-year-old faces never ceases to enrapture me.

    I daresay my reaction to the medal would be similar if I was able to hold it.
    Deacon Ray likes this.
  4. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    That painting absolutely hypnotizes me.

    If I were a kazillionaire, I would collect Old Master paintings as well as gold aureii.

    Cachecoins likes this.
  5. Iosephus

    Iosephus Well-Known Member

    I agree about the Old Master paintings. I think I'd be partial to gem sestertii though instead of aurei (more space for the portrait!).
  6. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    Excellent point. Might as well do all of the above, while we're daydreaming. Medals. Old Master paintings. Sestertii and aureii.

    All kept secure in an underground vault with a vast library and arches and suits of armor and old weapons and fllckering torches on the walls.

    (Not real torches, mind you- those are messy and dangerous. We could use the fake kind with electric flicker bulbs.) The torchlit hallway is gloomy for atmosphere, but in the numismatic and painting galleries and library there are plenty of lamps.
    Iosephus likes this.
  7. Cachecoins

    Cachecoins Historia Moneta

    Outstanding medal and the portrait is stunning, same effect as that amazing self portrait of Albrecht Durer imo Both unsurpassed great masters.

    Iosephus likes this.
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