BERTOLDO DI GIOVANNI
(b. ca. 1420, d. 1491, Poggio a Caiano)
Pazzi Cospiracy Medal, obverse: Lorenzo, reverse: Giuliano de' Medici1478
Bronze, diameter: 6,4 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington
This famous medal commemorates Giuliano and Lorenzo de' Medici after the Pazzi conspiration in 1478. The obverse depicts Lorenzo, who escaped, and the reverse in a mirror image portrays Giuliano who was killed in the Duomo during mass on 26 April.
Both sides feature eccentrically floating, bust-length portraits (associated with portraits by Botticelli); each is framed by Brunelleschi's temporary wooden choir enclosing the high altar (within which priests celebrated mass, unaware of the intrigue). Its narrative content is unprecedented in a medal. The vignette below Giuliano depicts his assasination with journalistic exactitude, while the scene under Lorenzo portrays him warding off his attackers and fleeing.