ABONDIO, Antonio
(b. 1538, Riva del Garda, d. 1591, Wien)


Italian medallist, part of a family of medallists and wax modellers, active in Central Europe. Antonio Abondio worked first in Italy and later for the imperial courts in Vienna and Prague. He worked in an eclectic style drawn from Italian and northern sources. His oeuvre consists principally of some 60 medals, though he also produced some wax portraits (13 of which survive) and a few plaquettes of religious and mythological themes. His son and pupil, Alessandro Abondio (c. 1580-1648), continued his father's work at the imperial court, developing the genre of portraiture in wax. He also made figure subjects. Alessandro's output was highly regarded by collectors.

Alessandro Abondio and Leone Leoni were the only Italian medallists to be highly successful as court artists north of the Alps. Abondio's earliest dated medal is of Jacopo Antonio Buoncompagni-Sora (1561; Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna). No stylistic development for his medals has been proposed. His eclectic style reflects Italian, German and Netherlandish sources. In Italy he followed the Milanese court style exemplified in the work of Leoni; he was influenced by medals of the Venetian Alessandro Vittoria, and, most surprisingly, early in his career he was influenced by the charming works of Alfonso Ruspagiari and the school of wax modellers and medallists centred on Reggio Emilia. Abondio's signed medal of Caterina Riva (1565; British Museum, London) presents her almost as a painting, three-quarter length and three-quarter facing, with the voluminous drapery used to make a Mannerist decoration.

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