Two Florentine Baroque Medals of Francesco Redi by Massimiliano Soldani

IosephusIosephus Posts: 799 ✭✭✭
edited February 6, 2019 8:20PM in World & Ancient Coins Forum

Francesco Redi


Bronze, 87.9 mm Ø, 187.8 g

Obverse: Bust of Francesco Redi facing right, with long curly hair and draped cloak. Around, FRANCISCVS · REDI · PATRITIVS · ARETINVS · (Francesco Redi, Patrician of Arezzo). Beneath the bust, M · SOLD · 1684 .

Reverse: Bacchus standing, holding a cup in his right hand and a thyrsus in his left. To the right, Silenus rides on the back of a donkey. In the background and foreground, a number of bacchants and satyrs dance, play instruments, and drink. In exergue, CANEBAM (I Was Singing).

References: Pollard 2007, no. 854; Vannel and Toderi 1987, no. 36


Bronze, 88.4 mm Ø, 157.8 g

Obverse: Same as above.

Reverse: Eternity, veiled, sitting at left with her left foot on a globe, handing a laurel wreath to Minerva, who kneels on top of Time, represented as a winged old man with a scythe. In the background, two columns supporting an architrave on which is written AETERNITATI (Eternity), topped by a snake biting its tail. To the right, ÆRE · PEREMNIVS (More Lasting Than Bronze). In exergue, M · S · F · 1685 .

References: Vannel and Toderi 1987, no. 38

Francesco Redi was born in Arezzo on February 18, 1626. He attended the University of Pisa and received doctoral degrees in both medicine and philosophy in 1647. He performed research and experiments in the fields of toxicology, entomology, and parasitology. In a famous series of experiments, he refuted the idea of spontaneous generation by showing that maggots do not arise spontaneously from rotting meat. He also wrote the dithyramb Bacco in Toscana (Bacchus in Tuscany), which was published in 1685. Redi died on March 1, 1697, in Pisa.

The first medal was commissioned by Cosimo III de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and relates to Redi's epic poem Bacco in Toscana. Considered one of the finest works of Italian poetry from the 17th century, the dithyramb has Bacchus himself praising the wines and writers of Tuscany. Vannel and Toderi consider this the most successful medal made by Soldani, and perhaps the most beautiful of all the Florentine baroque medals.

The reverse design of the second medal can be interpreted that Redi's fame will live on for eternity. Eternity gives the laurel wreath, a symbol of triumph, to Minerva, the goddess of wisdom, who kneels on a fallen Old Man Time. Additionally, the ouroboros, an ancient symbol of a snake biting its own tail, is a symbol of eternity, representing the infinite cycle of life and death.

Comments

  • STLNATSSTLNATS Posts: 1,641 ✭✭✭

    Interesting pair of medals Joe. At 88 mm those are really big boys. Since they share a common obverse, were these part of a larger series or just the two?

    Thanks for sharing the pix and your excellent, well researched write up! What fun.

    Always interested in St Louis MO & IL metro area and Evansville IN national bank notes and Vatican/papal states coins and medals!
  • IosephusIosephus Posts: 799 ✭✭✭

    @STLNATS said:
    Interesting pair of medals Joe. At 88 mm those are really big boys. Since they share a common obverse, were these part of a larger series or just the two?

    There is a third medal of Redi that shares the obverse (not mine):

    Redi was obviously held in high esteem to have had three medals (or at least, three reverses) made for him by one of the foremost Florentine sculptors.

  • STLNATSSTLNATS Posts: 1,641 ✭✭✭
    edited February 10, 2019 9:36PM

    Interesting.

    Outside of the papal states my library (and hence my knowledge) of Italian medals is pretty much nil so I always appreciate your posts, exposing areas I'm not likely to pursue. Not that his accomplishments were unnoteworthy, but trying to understand why he was selected to be so honored with these interesting medals, I found the following on Wikipedia:

    "he was registered at the Collegio Medico where he served at the Medici Court as both the head physician and superintendent of the ducal apothecary to Ferdinando II de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany and his successor, Cosimo III."

    So he was not only a "favorite son" of Florence, being a researcher and poet, but also held important positions making him well connected with the Medici court. What fun!

    Always interested in St Louis MO & IL metro area and Evansville IN national bank notes and Vatican/papal states coins and medals!
  • ZoharZohar Posts: 6,170 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Joe - awesome. When is the book coming out :)

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