Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:

Title: Official medal for the Florence Michelangelo Celebrations, 1875
Artists: Santarelli, Giovanni Antonio; Farnesi, Nicola (issued by Lorenzo Gori)
Keywords: Italy;Michelangelo Buonarroti, 1475-1564;Medals
Issue Date: 1875
Abstract: According to Cesare Parrini, who chronicled the events, the original design of this medal was given to Adolfo Pieroni (1832-1875) by the organizing committee. Pieroni was a prolific medalist and engraver, active in Paris, London, and Florence. He was to repeat the Santarelli design on the obverse which had long been used by the Florentine Academy of Fine Arts (see example of 1812). The reverse was to be an original design depicting the three arts (Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture) in which Michelangelo had achieved great fame. Pieroni's first design, as presented to the committee, showed Michelangelo surrounded by the three arts and poetry. The committee praised the artistry but objected to the representation of Michelangelo on both sides of the medal and therefore asked Pieroni for a new design. While still studying alternate designs, Pieroni died in April of 1875, with little time left before the Michelangelo festivities scheduled for September. The committee subsequently decided not to commission a new design but instead to use an inscription devised by Cesare Guasti: PEL/ QUARTO CENTENARIO/ IN FIRENZE/ MDCCCLXXV (for the 4th centenary in Florence 1875). Giovanni Vagnetti proposed to issue the medal but Lorenzo Gori (1842-1923) offered a more economical package and won the commission. Vagnetti issued another medal of his own design in 1475 (see separate entry). Gori employed Nicola Farnesi to design the reverse, which shows a crown of laurel and oak surrounding the inscription. His name, N. Farnesi, appears below.
Obverse Description: The obverse is a copy of Giovanni Antonio Santarelli's design of 1812, which bears the right side profile portrait of Michelangelo in addition to the inscription "MICHEL PIU CHE MORTAL ANGEL DIVINO" (Michael more than mortal, a divine angel) in the surround. The bottom of the obverse also includes the artist name, "SANTARELLI."
Reverse Description: The reverse features a wreath, along with the inscription "PEL/ QUARTO CENTENARIO/ IN FIRENZE/ MDCCCLXXV" (for the 4th centenary in Florence 1875) in the surround and artist's mark "N.FARNISI" on the bottom.
Historical Context:
Artist Biography: Nicola Farnesi (1836-1904) was a medalist who also served as the die cutter at the Florentine mint from 1863-1870. Afterwards, he had studios in Florence and in Lucca and served as professor at the Academy in Florence and at the Academy in Urbino. His son Adolfo also became a medalist. The finished medals were both sold and donated to important persons. Gori produced 300 of these medals in bronze, 20 silvered versions and another 20 gilded. He also issued an additional medal in 1475. Emilio Santarelli (1801-1886) was a Florentine sculptor and the son of Giovanni Antonio Santarelli, who designed an earlier Michelangelo medal in 1812 for the Academy of Fine Arts. Emilio studied at the Florentine Academy of Fine Arts, where he later also served as a professor. He worked on various important sculptural projects including important sculptures in many Florentine churches and monuments in Pisa and Livorno, among other cities. He also made the sculpture of Michelangelo that is in the Uffizi Loggia as part of a series of famous men. Santarelli was also an important figure in the movement of Michelangelo's David to the Accademia in 1873. Emilio also made a lasting contribution to the city by cultivating a large garden that is now the Giardino Nidiaci.
Bibliography: See bronze version from the Accademia della Crusca in Stefano Corsi, ed., Michelangelo nell'Ottocento: Il centenario del 1875, Milan, 1994, cat. 8; and Monica Maffioli and Silvestra Bietoletti, eds., Ri-conoscere Michelangelo, 2014, cat. 4. See silver version in collection of the American Numismatic Society: Contemporary account in Cesare Parrini, Relazione del centenario di Michelangiolo Buonarroti nel settembre del 1875 in Firenze, Florence, 1876. See example in Windsor Castle:
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

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Medal003_Obverse.jpg1.05 MBJPEGThumbnail
Medal003_reverse.jpg1.11 MBJPEGThumbnail

Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.