Archaeological Museum of Bologna

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Collections / Sections / Numismatic collection

Medal by Matteo de’ Pasti with portrait of L. B. Alberti

The Bologna collection has about 16,000 medals made of various types of metal. On a chronological level it goes from the origin of medals, with works by Pisanello, to our own era. The papal medals are especially important, constituted by over 5500 pieces – some of which quite rare – depicting popes from St Peter to John Paul II. In addition to the large series of medals tied to the history of Bologna and its important figures, with many one-off pieces, there is also a collection of Renaissance medals that boasts exquisite pieces by masters such as Pisanello, Matteo de’ Pasti, L’Antico, Sperandio, Gian Cristoforo Romano and Francia.

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The medal, executed by Matteo de 'Pasti probably between 1446 and 1450, is considered one of the highest artistic expressions of the Renaissance for the incisiveness of the portrait and for the balance of the composition.

The type of the reverse with winged eye, probably designed by the same Alberti, derives from the Egyptian iconography of udjat-eye of Horus, as evidenced by a passage from the De re aedificatoria: "The Egyptians made use of figurative symbols, like this: a eye meant the gods, and so on. "

The number 7 is recurring: 7 are the flames under the eye and 7 are the letters that form the legend QUID TUM, as 7 are the days of creation or the planets. Matteo de 'Pasti, who signs the medal "MATTHAEI.PASTII.VERONENSI.OPVS" (by Matteo de' Pasti of Verona) was an architect, sculptor, painter, as well as a medalist; active in Venice, he moved in 1446 to Rimini, where he worked with Alberti in the remake of the Malatesta Temple.


Provenance: University Collection
Datation: 1447 AD
Material: Bronze
Dimensions: dia mm 87
Inventory #: 22730

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