TURA, Cosmè
(b. ca. 1430, Ferrara, d. 1495, Ferrara)

Alfonso d'Este

Cast bronze, diameter 7 cm
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Two medals, one representing Ercole I d'Este and his wife Eleonora of Aragon, and another representing their son, Alfonso d'Este, are attributed to Cosmè Tura, who was a portrait painter at the Este court in Ferrara. They were made to celebrate Ercole's victory in 1476 over Leonello's son Niccolò d'Este after the attempted coup by Niccolò, as well as the birth of Alfonso, the son of the ducal couple, six weeks before the coup.

Both medals are remarkable for their finely modeled, crisp low relief and realistic portraits. The reverse of the medal of Alfonso d'Este shows a self-possessed infant Hercules strangling two serpents while he calmly reclines on his left elbow in his crib. This scene advertises Alfonso as a second Hercules, a compliment as much for the father as for the son.

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