(b. 1395, Pisa, d. 1455, Roma)

Medal of Leonello d'Este (obverse and reverse)

Bronze, 10,2 cm
Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence

Leonello d'Este popularised Pisanello's medals, using them as diplomatic gifts to cement relationships with dignitaries throughout Europe. In one example, announcing Leonello's marriage to Mary of Aragon, natural daughter of King Alfonso of Naples, Pisanello anchors his patron's bust with a Latin inscription across his shoulders that translates as Leonello d'Este Marquis. The qualifying descriptor "of Ferrara and Modena" appears in the curve beneath. the obverse provides a charming commentary on the event. at the right Cupid patiently points out musical notes on a scroll to a very meek lion, tail between his legs, who is learning to sing. In the background an eagle keeps watch. The work is inscribed with Pisanello's name above Cupid's head.

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