MEDAGLIA FATTA CONIARE DAI RE CATTOLICI IN ONORE DI ANTONIO GERALDINI
Medaglia in bronzo - diametro mm. 67 - coniata tra il 1485 e il 1486 da Niccolò Fiorentino in onore di Antonio Geraldini di Amelia, in occasione della Laurea di Poeta ottenuta nel 1479 presso la Corte dei Re Cattolici: una medaglia è presso la famiglia Geraldini, acquistata ad un’asta della Christie’s nel 1984.
Della medaglia e del suo autore riportiamo le notizie che troviamo sul primo volume di: A CORPUS OF ITALIAN MEDALS OF THE RENAISSANCE BEFORE CELLINI by George Francis Hill, keeper of coins and medals in the British Museum, in two volumes with 201 plates. London: British Museum, printed by Order of the Trustees, MCMXXX. Ristampato da S.P.E.S., Studio Per Edizioni Scelte, Firenze 1984.
GERALDINI ( ANTONIO)
924. Obv. ANTONIUS ▼GERALDINUS ▼PONTIFICIUS ▼ LOGOTHETA ▼FASTORUM ▼ VATES. Bust r., with curly hair, wearing round cap and pleated gown.
Rev. ▼ RELIGIO ▼ ▼ SANCTA▼and, in arc below, ▼ OP(us) ▼ NI(ccolò) ▼ FO(rzore) ▼ SP(inelli) ▼ FL(loretiae)▼. Religion standing l., laureate, wears tunic and mantle, swings censer in r., holds cornucopiae in l.
Arm. I, 84, 2 (67mm.); III, 20, B; 21, b. Bode, Jahrb., XXV, p. 10, Pl. B, 8; C, 6; Flor. Bildh., figs. 150, 152, E. Torino in Bol. Soc. Esp. De Excurs., XXV (1917), p. 61. Hab., Pl. XXXVI, 2. [b .Pl. 150.]
II. Florence, 67 mm. Friedl. P. 140, no. 3, Pl. XXV. Heiss, Nicc. Spin., p. 13, no. 3, Pl. I, 3. (b) Turin. Arm., loc. cit.
According to Bode, this was made in Rome during the stay wich he supposes Niccolò to have made there in 1485-6. Geraldini was a colleague of Mendoza (no. 936) in his embassy in 1486. The figure of Religion is adopted, with the substitution of a branch for the censer, on the medal of Innocent VIII, for the figure of Pax, which is itself a close copy of a Roman coin-type (Pax Augusta: F. Gnecchi, I tipi monetarii di Roma Imperiale (1907), Pl. XVI).
Antonio Geraldini of Amelia (1455-1488) was crowned poet-laureate in 1479. Innocent VIII made him protonotary (Logotheta). Lancetti, Mem. Intorno ai poeti laureati (1839), pp. 194 ff.
NICCOLO’ DI FORZORE SPINELLI, called NICCOLO’ FIORENTINO, NICCOLO’ DI FORZORE DI NICCOLO’ DI LUCA SPINELLI, a grand-nephew of the painter Spinello Aretino, was born in FLORENCE, of a family of goldsmiths of the Popolo of Santa Maria Novella, on 23 Apr. 1430 , and died there in April 1514. He married in 1471 Alessandra di Lionardo de’ Paoli. It is probable that he is identical with the "Nicolas de Spinel" who is mentioned in 1468 in the accounts of the Dukes of Burgundy as having engraved seals for Charles the Bold. In 1484 he repaired and restored the great silver seals of the Arte de’ Giudici e Notai of Florence. The dates of two of his medals are fixed in 1484 and 1492 (se below); the payment for the latter medal is also recorded in a documment. He is to be distinguished from one Nicolas de Florence who was living at Lyon in 1494, married to the daughter of a French goldsmith, and who died there in 1499. It is certain that he visited Flanders, from a casual remark of Leonardo da Vinci, written down probably in 1506-7: "as was done in Flanders, accordig to what Niccolo’ di Forzore told me".
Two painted portraits have been claimed as representing this medallist; the Memling at Antwerp, a portrait of a young man holding a sestertius of Nero; and the Botticellesque portrait in the Uffizi (no. 1487) of a young man holding a medal (in gessi gilt) of Cosimo Vecchio, which medal is by some attributed to Niccolò (see above on nos. 909, 910). Bode, who formerly supported the claim of the Antwerp picture, now prefers that in the Uffizi; the Antwerp picture he takes to be Candida. That seems unlikely in view of striking difference between the noses in this portrait and in the two medals of Candida; and it is not certain that the Antwerp picture represents a medallist at all. See above, p. 213.
Though it is indisputable, from Leonardo’s remark, that Niccolò Fiorentino went to the Low Counties, and therefore reasonable to identify him with the seal-engraver to the Court of Burgundy, there is no evidence that he made medals there, and the medal of the Grand Bastard, whether he modelled it or not, may just as well be datedto 1475 and assumed to have been done in Italy. There are no other medals of persons of the Burgundian Court which in the least resemble it in style. Nor, be it noted, are there any other medals among those attributed to Niccolò which can, so far as we know their dates, be assigned to a period much before 1480, if we except the medal of Cosimo Vecchio, the attribution of which is of course by no means certain (no. 910).
An extraordinary mass of medals has been brought together under the name of Niccolò Fiorentino, by W. Von Bode, who has done great service in destroyng the rather absurd formulae "Médailleur à l’Aigle", "Médailleur à l’Espérance", &c., under which many of them were grouped according to their reverses. His view that this immense output was due to one man (who, however, abstained from signing more than five of them, and those by no means the most interesting or fine) has been as a whole accepted by Habich. In the following classification, which is by no means put forward with any pretence to finality, but merely as a preliminary grouping, the medals attributed to Niccolò by Bode and others have been divided into the following groups (omitted are the medals of Cosimo Vecchio, of his sons Piero and Giovanni, and that of Lorenzo il Magnifico with the pincers under the bust, which are described elsewhere):
I. Medals signed by Niccolò Fiorentino.
II. Medals apparently for the most part connected with Rome, about 1480-6. Many of these have been ascribed by Bode to a conjectural sojourn of the artist in Rome in 1485-6.
III. Medals of Frenchmen probably made during the expedition of Charles VIII to Italy, presumably in Florence in 1494.
IV. Other medals which in point of style come near to the above groups. And of these, there has been made an earlier section, of medals which appear to date from about 1480 to 1500; and a later section, from 1500 or later; the medals in this second section, generally speaking, show considerable falling off in quality, which may be attributed either to the age of Niccolò, if he is their author (he was then over 70 years old), or to their beig the work of inferior hands.
V. A special group has been made of medals of Savonarola, somewhat illogically, perhaps; for a few of these can be traced to Giovanni delle Corniole’s model, others might perhaps have been included in Group IV, while others again are merely popular issues.
VI. A small group of medals which seem by their style to stand more definitely apart from Niccolò’s work than most of those included in Group IV.
VII. A group consisting chiefly of portrait-medals of the three great literary heroes of Florence, Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio. With these are included one or two other re-evocations of old times. The portrait of S.Antonino, as also being not from the life, is here included. It is perhaps the only one which might have a claim to pass into Group IV. The connexion of the others of this group with Niccolò Fiorentino (especially the grotesquely bad Coluccio Salutati) is slight indeed.
The above classification will, it is hoped, make it possible for future investigators to obtain a clearer idea of the style of Niccolò as revealed in his signed medals, and of the quality of the other pieces which have been assigned yo him. It will probably be admitted that among the latter there are very many on an almost incomparably higher plane than those which areb authenticated by is signature. Of none of the signed portraits (except possibly of the Lorenzo) can it be said that they are masterly, an epithet which is apt to the portraits of the Grand Bastard, Petrus Maria, Giovanni Tornabuoni, Filippo Strozzi. There are no women among the signed medals, so that we have no opportunity of comparing his signed work with the enchanting figures of Giovanna Albizzi or Nonina Strozzi or Costanza Rucellai or Lucrezia of Siena.
Much has been written on the qualities of these medals. There is general agreement that their authors, while almost unequalled in the power, brilliance, and charm of their portraits, are careless and clumsy in the reverse compositions. The explanation is that in Florence the medal occupied a much less important station than in some of the northern centres; it was overshadowed by sculpture on a large scale, and many of the medal must have been actually the parerga of sculptors. It is notorius that most sculptors, when working on the small scale of a medal, are neglectful of technique and impatient of detail, and generally ignore the fact that the conditions applying to a small circular composition are quite different from those of a large relief. It is probable that many of the portrait obverses were modelled by the artist without any notion of a reverse; such reverses may have been supplied at the time or later by a casting-shop "from stock". Only thus can we explain the numerous incongruities between obverse and reverse which this series, more than any other, presents.
Documents cited as above. Leonardo da Vinci, Il codice …della biblioteca di Lord Leicester, Milan (1909), p. 66. Friedländer, Ital. Schaumünzen (1882), pp. 139-40. Armand, Médailleurs italiens, I (1883), pp. 83-91; II (1883), p. 289; III (1887), pp. 19-22. Heiss, Médailleurs de la Renaissance, Florence, I (1891), pp. 56-71. Fabriczy, Itaslian Medals, (1904), pp. 119-26. Bode, Der Florentiner Medailleur Niccolò di Forzore Spinelli, in Jahrb. D. k. Preuss. Kunstsamml., XXV (1904), pp. 1-14. The same, Florentiner Bildhauer 3rded. (1911), pp. 268-85. E. Solmi in Raccolta Vinciana, VII (1912), pp. 138 f. Hill, Medals of the Renaissance (1920), pp. 78-82. Habich, Medaillen der ital. Renaissance (1924), pp. 67-72. Bode in Zeitschr. F. Num., 34 (1924), pp. 386-8.
I. SIGNED MEDALS
922. DAZIARI (SILVESTRO), Bishop of Chioggia.
923. ESTE (ALFONSO I D’).
924. GERALDINI (ANTONIO): see above.
925. LECIA (ANTONIO DELLA).
926. MEDICI (LORENZO DE’), il Magnifico.
II. MEDALS ATTRIBUTED TO NICCOLO’ FIORENTINO, CONNECTED WITH ROME, ABOUT 1480-6
927. 928. 929. INNOCENT VIII.
930. BATONATTI (GUGLIELMO).
931. CALLAGRANI (GIROLAMO).
932. CAOURSIN (GUILLAUME), Vice-Chancellor of the Knights of St. John.
933. GAMBERIA (BERNARDINI).
934. KENDAL (JOHN).
935. MARLIANI (FABRIZIO).
936. MENDOZA (IÑIGO LOPEZ DE), Count of Tendella, first Marquess of Mondejar.
937. ORSINI (RINALDO).
938. PAVIA (GIOV. P. DI).
939. PORTA (ARDICINO DELLA).
940. RIDOLFI (GIROLAMO), da San Giminiano.
941. SCHIAFENATI (FILIPPO), Knight of St John of Jerusalem.
942. SCHIAFENATI (GIOVANNI JACOPO), Cardinal, Bishop of Parma.
943. USODIMARE-CIBO’ (TEODORINA).
944. USODIMARE (PERETTA).
III. PORTRAITS OF FRENCHMEN, ATTRIBUTED TO NICCOLO’ FIORENTINO, ABOUT 1494-5
So far as the persons represented on this group are identified, they took part in the expedition to Italy in 1494-5; and it is probable that the medals were made at that time in Italy, presumably in Florence (sice their style is markedly Florentine), and not impossibly by Niccolò Fiorentino.
945. 946. CHARLES VIII of France.
947. BOURBON (GILBERT DE), Comte de Montpensier.
948. DAMONT (JEAN).
949. DU NAS DE L’ISLE (JEAN), Councillor of Charles VIII.
950. GIMEL (ANTOINE DE), Councillor of Charles VIII:
951. LESPRINGUE (ETIENNE D’EYMBEXT SARRA DE).
952. MATHARON DE SALIGNAC (JEAN), Chamberlain of Charles VIII.
953. STUART D’AUBIGNY (BÉRAUD).
954. UNKNOWN FRENCHMAN.
IV. MEDALS WHICH ARE MORE OR LESS IN STYLE OF, AND HAVE BEEN ATTRIBUTED TO, NICCOLO’ FIORENTINO
A. EARLIER GROUP, BEFORE ABOUT 1500
955. ALTOVITI (LIONORA).
956. BARBIGIA (BERNARDO DEL).
957. BARBIGIA (NONINA STROZZI, wife of Bernardo del).
958. BARBOLANO (FRANCESCO).959.
959. BELLI (FRA ALBERTO)?
960. BENTIVOGLIO (BARBARA TORELLI, wife of Ercole).
961. BENTIVOGLIO ERCOLE).
962. BURGUNDY (ANTOINE), Bastard of.
963. CASTIGLIONE (ANTONIO DI DANTE).
964. 965. 966. CASTIGLIONE (ROBERTO DI DANTE).
967. CIBO’ (FRANCESCO).
968. CIGLAMOCHI (LORENZO DI FRANCESCO).
969. CORBINELLI (SALVESTRO).
970. DENTATUS (IUN: ANTONIUS):
971. ESTE (ERCOLE I D’), Duke of Ferrara and Modena.
972. FEDELE (CASSANDRA).
973. FEDERIGHI (CARLO).
974. FICINO (MARSILIO).
975. FILARETE (FRANCESCO).
976. GIUSTINI (PAOLO).
977. GRIMANI (DOMENICO).
978. GUIDI (GIOV. ANTONIO DE’ CONTI).
979. LAPI (FRANCESCA DE’).
980. LUCREZIA (MALVOLTI?).
981. LUTI (LODOVOCO), da Siena.
982. MACHIAVELLI (PIETRO).
983. 984. MACINGHI or MACIGNI (ROBERTO DI RUGGIERO DE’).
985. MARTELLI (LUCREZIA).
986. MEDICI (GIULIANO DE’).
987. 988. MEDICI (LORENZO DE’),il Magnifico.
989. MORELLI LODOVICA PIO), wife of Bernardo.
990. MORELLI (MARIA), Florentine.
991. MUCINI (MARIA DE’).
992. NASI (RUBERTO DI BERNARDO DI LUTOZZO).
993. NICOLAI GIULIANO DANIELE).
994. 995. ORSINI (GIOVANNI PAOLO).
996. PARTICINI (GIULIANO).
997. PICO DELLA MIRANDOLA (COSTANZA BENTIVOGLIO), wife of Antonio.
998. PICP DELLA MIRANDOLA (GIOVANNI).
999. PIETRO MARIA….
1000. PIZZAMANI (ANTONIO).
1001. 1002. POLIZIANO (ANGELO AMBROGINI, called) and Maria Poliziana.
1003. 1004. 1005. POLIZIANA (MARIA).
1006. PRISCIANI (PELLEGRINO DI PRISCIANO).
1007. PUCCINI (NICCOLO’ DI MICHELE), da Pescia.
1008. RIARIA (BIANCA).
1009. RICCIO (FRA DOMENICO).
1010. RINUCCINI (ALAMANNO).
1011. RUCELLAI (COSTANZA).
1012. SALVIATI (CAMILLA BUONDELMONTI), wife of Gianozzo.
1013. SANTUCCI (GIROLAMO)
1014. 1015. SFORZA- RIARIO (CATERINA), Countess of Forlì and Imola.
1016. SFORZA-RIARIO (OTTAVIANO).
1017. STIA (GIOVANNI DI ANDREA DA).
1018. STROZZI (FILIPPO).
1019. TAVERNA (STEFANO), Secretary to the Duke of Milan.
1020. TIBERTI (ACHILLE), of Cesena.
1021. 1022. TORNABUONI (GIOVANNA ALBIZZI), wife of Lorenzo.
1023. 1024. 1025. TORNABUONI (GIOVANNI DI FRANCESCO).
1026. TORRI (NICCOLO’DI EGIDIO), d’Arezzo.
1027. VECCHIETTI (ALESSANDRO DI GINO).
1028. VIDAL (FRANCISCO), of Noya.
1029. VITELLI (PAOLO).
1030. UNKNOWN MAN.
1031. UNKNOWN MAN.
1032. UNKNOWN MAN.
1033. UNKNOWN MAN.
1034. UNKNOWN MAN.
1035. UNKNOWN MAN.
1036. UNKNOWN YOUNG MAN.
1037. UNKNOWN WOMAN.
1038. UNKNOWN WOMAN.
1039. REVERSE OF A MEDAL.
B. LATER GROUP, ABOUT 1500 AND LATER
1040. BALDASSARRE (DOM), Abbot of Vallombrosa?
1041. BALDOLO (SILVESTRO).
1042. BANDUCCI (BERNARDO).
1043. BONALDI (GIOV: MARCO).
1043 bis. CORBINELLI (SIL VESTRO). See no. 969.
1044. DINE (AN: GUGLIELMUS).
1045. ESTE (IPPOLITO DI ERCOLE I D’).
1046. GOZZADINI (GIOVANNI).
1047. 1048. GREUDNER (JOHANN).
1049. LANCILLOTTO (FRANCESCO).
1050. MARTIN (RAFAEL).
1051. 1052. MEDICI? (DIAMANTE DE’).
1053. MEDICI (GIOVANNI DE’), afterwards Leo X.
1054. 1055. MEDICI (LORENZO DI PIERFRANCESCO DE’), il Popolano.
1056. MEDICI (PIERFRANCESCO DE’).
1057. MEDICI, UNIDENTIFIED LADY OF THE.
1058. NERO (LEONARDO DI GIROLAMO DEL), di Poppi.
1060. ROVERE (BATTISTA DELLA), Vercellese.
1061. 1062. 1063. ROVERELLA (FILIASIO).
1064. SALVIATI (BERNARDO DI MARCO).
1065. SALVIATI (GIANOZZO).
1066. TANAGLI (MICHELANGELO).
1067. TANI (MASINA DE’).
1068. TORNABUONI (LORENZO DI GIOVANNI).
1069. TORNABUONI LODOVICA).
1070. TRANQUIER (NICOLAS).
1071. UNKNOWN MAN.
V. MEDALS OF SAVONAROLA, ATTRIBUTED TO NICCOLO’ FIORENTINO AND OTHERS
The medals of Savonarola cast during or soon after his time fall into two classes. The first has the hood completely covering the forehead hair. In the other group the hood is less far forward, and the hair is visible over the forehead.
On the Savonarola medals, besides the usual authorities, see J. Schnitzer, Savonarola, II, 1924, pp. 817-18 (plate reduced from Heiss, Niccolò Spinelli, Pl. VII, at p. 616). He accepts the attribution to Ambrogio della Robbia for nos. 1075-77, 1082. A very perfunctory account of medals is also given by Allan Marquand, The Brothers of Giovanni Della Robbia (Princeton, 1928), and attributions made, for reasons which seem to be purely fanciful, to Fra Mattia and Fra Ambrogio Della Robbia.
1072. 1073. HIERONIMUS SAVoNAROLA.
1074. NO INSCRIPTION.
Under date 1497 November, Pietro Parenti (ed. Jos. Schnitzer, Leipzig, 1910, p. 215) records: "rinnovandosi la reputazione di Frate Hieronimo qui nella lettera, la effige sua ritratta al naturale si gitto di bronzo in medaglie, dove da una parte era la sua testa con tale titolo intorno: ‘Hieronimus Savonarola ordinis predicatorum doctissimus’; dal altra Roma sculpta et sopra una mano con un pugnale et lettere: ‘Gladius Domoni super terram cito et velociter’. Parole sue come e manifesto, etc.’ This doubtless refers to one of the following medals, though the descriptin does not exactly fit any one of them.
The type which they represent is doubtless due to one of the sons of Andrea della Robbia, who became Dominicans, one, probably Paolo (born on 2 Nov. 1470), taking the name of Frate Luca. Now Vasari says (ed. Milanesi, II, p. 181): "Andrea…lasciò due figlioli frati in San Marco stati vestiti dal reverendo Fra Girolamo Savonarola, del quale furono sempre quei Della Robbia molto divoti, e lo ritrassero in quella maniera che ancor oggi si vede nelle medaglie." This has been universally taken to mean that they cast medals of their master. If it means anything, it is that they did portraits of the type which is reproduced in medals still preserved. In other words, it implies rather that they did not make actual medals, but possibly medallions in Della Robbia ware, the type of which was reproduced in bronze medals, not necessarily by their own hands. While we are justified in regarding these medals as of the Della Robbia type, we have no right to say that either of the brothers was directly responsible for them.
The inscriptions on these medals: Gladius Domini super terram cito et velociter, Spiritus Domini super terram copiose et (h)abundanter, are said to record predictions by Savanarola of the fate of Florence (Parenti calls the city Rome) according as she should continue in or repent of her evil ways. They are, however, probably more general in their reference to Italy (see the reverse of no. 1075); the sword of the Lord is the French invasion, which Savonarola predicted.
1075. 1076. 1077. 1078. 1079. 1080. 1081. 1082. 1083. HIERONIMUS SAVONAROLA.
Il testo sopra riportato è preso dalle pp.243-279 del primo volume A corpus of italian medals of the Renaissance before Cellini, by George Francis Hill, London MCMXXX, ristampa di S.P.E.S, Firenze 1984.
 Habich’s date 1435 (p. 67) is doubtless due to a slip of the pen