CELLINI, Benvenuto
(b. 1500, Firenze, d. 1571, Firenze)

'Testone' of Alessandro de' Medici

Gilded silver, diameter 4 cm
Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence

After the death of Pope Clement VII, Cellini went to Venice, and then to Florence where he enjoyed the protection of Alessandro de' Medici, Duke of Florence. He minted the 40 soldi worth of testone for him. (Testone was a former silver coin of Milan, first issued in 1468, bearing on the obverse a bust of the Duke of Milan. The silver soldo, first struck in the 13th century, was the backbone of the Italian monetary system until the early 19th century.)

The coin manifests Alessandro de' Medici's desire to render the power he held over the city of Florence evident to all through the diffusion of his portrait. On the obverse Alessandro de' Medici is portrayed, on the verso Sts Cosma and Damian, protectors of the Medici, are represented.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.