(b. ca. 1400, Firenze, d. 1469, Roma)


c. 1460
Cast bronze, 8 x 7 cm
Castello Sforzesco, Milan

Early on, Filarete showed an interest in self-commemoration by including two self-portraits on the bronze doors that he made for St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. On the obverse of the present medal, the presentation of the portrait bust facing to the right is essentially the same as on the front of the doors of the basilica, although he looks older. On the reverse, he appears much as on the back of the basilica doors, full-length, wearing the same kind of clothing and hat, and similarly active. Here he wields chisel and hammer as he makes an opening in a laurel tree from which the honey in a hive streams down the trunk, forming a great pool. The scene is filled with Filarete's beloved bees, in all different sizes, hovering about, while a sun, complete with a benign face, seems to perch on the tree, bestowing its beneficent rays upon the whole operation.

Filarete is indebted to Alberti in the oval form and in the inclusion of the artist's personal device on the obverse.