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

Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta

1445
Cast lead, diameter 10 cm
Münzkabinett, Staatliche Museen, Berlin

Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta (1417-1468), lord of Rimini, Fano, and Cesena, one of the most noted condottieri of the age, clearly understood both the commemorative and diplomatic potential of medallic portraiture. Inspired by the medals cast in Milan, he commissioned two medals from Pisanello about 1445, which depict him in field armour and are decorated with heraldic devices. Shortly thereafter, he employed Matteo de' Pasti, who produced at least sixteen different medals bearing either his likeness or that of his mistress and later wife, Isotta degli Atti.

On this medal, Pisanello focuses on Sigismondo's military success. On the obverse the sitter is shown in armour with the Malatesta heraldic emblem ornamenting his right shoulder. In the inscription he is identified as captain general of the papal forces. On the reverse, he appears on horseback in full field armour, leading with the baton of command raised in his right hand. The fortified building in the background bears the date 1445, and the Malatesta shield is displayed on the adjacent tower.




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