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Title: Bronze medal from the Florence Accademia delle Belle Arti, 1772
Artists: Siries, Luigi
Keywords: Italy;Michelangelo Buonarroti, 1475-1564;Medals
Issue Date: 1772
Abstract: General Description: A medal for the Florentine Accademia delle Belle Arti has long evaded definitive scholarly classification, with disagreement about who produced the medal, in what year, and for what specific purpose. New evidence provides a clear answer for these questions and indicates a far greater significance of the medal than previously supposed. The medal was designed by Luigi Siries just prior to January 18, 1772 when gold versions were awarded to students at the Florentine Accademia del Disegno in two different weights, depending on the first or second class categorization. The silver and bronze versions known today must have issued shortly thereafter. It is important to note that this is prior to the 1784 reorganization of the institution under Pietro Leopoldo I as the Accademia di Belle Arti. This change eventually necessitated a new medal, designed by Giovanni Antonio Santarelli in 1812, when prizes were later instituted by the Grand Duchess of Tuscany. At this point the emphasis of the iconography changes from the more theoretical emphasis using Minerva (also the Goddess of wisdom) to the greatest practitioner of the arts, Michelangelo.
Obverse Description: The obverse features the bust of Minerva. The surround bears the inscription "UN EMULA VIRTU GLI ANIMI ACCENDA" (an emulated virtue of the fighting spirits) as well as the artist's name "SERIES F" along the bottom.
Reverse Description: The reverse bears three interlocking wreaths of the Florence Accademia delle Belle Arti. The surround features the inscription "ACCEDEMIA FLORENTINA DELLE BELLI ARTI" (Florence Accademia delle Belli Arti).
Historical Context:
Artist Biography: Regarding authorship of the medal, the Siries family of medalists owes its origins in Florence to Louis Siries (1686-1762), a Frenchman, who worked for Louis XV and came to Florence in 1740 with an appointment to the Grand Ducal Gallery. He generally signed LOVIS SIRIES or L. S. and was known for his fine detail work in various media, notably gems. He was engraver to the Florentine Mint as late as 1766. Louis' son, Cosimo (d.1789), followed the profession as engraver and expert in gemstone work while a daughter, Violante Beatrice Siries (1709?83), was a painter. Cosimo's son was also named Louis [or Italianized as Luigi] (1743-1811) and is probably that mentioned by Forrer as producing Florentine coinage from sometime after 1767 to 1803. He also produced medals, including one for the Florence Accademia della Crusca. Luigi's son was Carlo Siries (1778-1854), who followed the same profession and was engraver at the Florentine mint from 1819-1836. All of those named were at respective points inscribed as members of the Accademia delle Belle Arti and the four males were each at one time director of the director of the Galleria dei lavori [delle Pietre Dure].
Description: This medal was scanned and uploaded to DLynx by Bonnie Whitehouse '18 and Rachel Rotter '18 in the Visual Resources Center during the 2016-2017 school year.
Appears in Collections:A Catalogue of Medals Commemorating Michelangelo

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Medal013_Obverse.jpg1.55 MBJPEGThumbnail
Medal013_Reverse.jpg1.78 MBJPEGThumbnail

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