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

Medallion Portrait of Emperor Maximilian II

c. 1575
Wax on obsidian
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Emperor Maximilian II (reg. 1564-1576) commissioned many works from contemporary artists in order to enlarge and broaden his outstanding museum.

Antonio Abondio was an Italian medallist and modeller. He is best known as the pioneer of the coloured wax relief portrait miniature.

He worked in Italy between 1552 and 1565, and thereafter mainly for the Habsburgs. His son Alessandro followed in his father's footsteps, also specializing in mythological reliefs, and marrying the widow of another court artist, Hans von Aachen.

Thirteen of Abondio's wax portraits survive, and about sixty medals. He also made the dies for the first coinage of Emperor Rudolf II. Initially his style in metal followed that of Leone Leoni, for the façade of whose house in Milan he carved eight large atlantes in stone, but later included many other influences.

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