Italian Renaissance Medal - Francesco I Sforza by Gianfrancesco Enzola

Discussion in 'World Coins' started by Iosephus, Jul 13, 2018.

  1. Iosephus

    Iosephus Well-Known Member

    Francesco I Sforza / Greyhound Seated Under Tree

    Work of Gianfrancesco Enzola, 1456.

    Bronze, 41.7 mm Ø, 35.6 g

    Obverse: Bust of Francesco I Sforza facing right, wearing shirt of mail under plate armor. Around, FR · SFORTIA VICECOMES · MLI · DVX · IIII BELLI PATER · ET · PACIS · AVTOR MCCCCLVI (Francesco Sforza Visconti, Fourth Duke of Milan, Father of War and Maker of Peace, 1456); inscription separated by biscione. To the sides of the bust, · V · · F · .

    Reverse: A hand issuing from a cloud touching a greyhound seated under a tree. On the rocky ground lays a bridle, which is attached to the tree by a chain. Around, · IO · FR · ENZOLAE · · PARMENSIS · OPVS · (Work of Gian Francesco Enzola of Parma).

    Francesco Sforza (1401-1466) was primarily employed by Filippo Maria Visconti, duke of Milan, in the wars with Venice. In 1441, Francesco married Filippo's daughter Bianca Maria, acquiring the family name of Visconti which is present on this medal. Upon Filippo's death in 1447, Milan was briefly a republican government. After years of famine and following riots, the city's senate recognized Francesco as duke. An able ruler who modernized Milan, he died in March of 1466, and was succeeded by his son, Galeazzo Maria Sforza.

    The reverse design is the duke's impresa. The dog can be seen as a symbol of fidelity, and the greyhound in this design is free of his bridle and able to run at will. The meaning of the V F on the reverse is unknown, but appears on other medals by Enzola. Pollard postulates that it may stand for a dedicatory formula adapted from ancient Roman coins, such as "votum fecit" (a promise made). Although all known examples are cast, it is believed that this medal was originally struck.

    References: Hill 1930, no. 281; Pollard 2007, no. 135

    This piece joins another medal already in my collection of Francesco by Sperandio (c. 1466). Though somewhat worn and battered, this medal does feature an interesting three-quarters frontal view, as opposed to a typical profile:

    Lead, 90.5 mm Ø, 280.9 g
    serafino, chrisild, ominus1 and 3 others like this.
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  3. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    Spectral hand petting a dog.

    It doesn't get much cooler than that, folks! :)
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