French family of medallists. Philippe Danfrie the elder (b 1531–5; d Paris, 1606) went to Paris in the 1550s and set up as an engraver of letter punches. He produced a number of books in partnership with Richard Breton in 1558–60 and later with Pierre Haman and Jean Le Royer. He also made mathematical instruments, globes and astrolabes and dies for marking bookbindings. In 1571 he cut his first dies for jettons. As Engraver-General of the French coinage from 1582, he provided the puncheons from which the dies used in every mint in France were taken. He also produced a number of medals (e.g. London, BM) commemorating the events of the first 15 years of Henry IV’s reign. His son Philippe Danfrie the younger (b ?Paris, c. 1572; d Paris, 1604) was appointed Controller-General of effigies in 1591. On his appointment it was claimed that he had demonstrated great skill in modelling portraits in wax and engraving puncheons. His most famous and only signed medal (e.g. London, BM) is cast rather than struck and celebrates the victory of Henry IV over the Duke of Savoy in ...
Francesco Paolo Fiore and Pietro C. Marani
(Pollaiolo) [Francesco di Giorgio]
(b Siena, bapt Sept 23, 1439; d Siena, bur Nov 29, 1501).
Italian architect, engineer, painter, illuminator, sculptor, medallist, theorist and writer. He was the most outstanding artistic personality from Siena in the second half of the 15th century. His activities as a diplomat led to his employment at the courts of Naples, Milan and Urbino, as well as in Siena, and while most of his paintings and miniatures date from before 1475, by the 1480s and 1490s he was among the leading architects in Italy. He was particularly renowned for his work as a military architect, notably for his involvement in the development of the Bastion, which formed the basis of post-medieval fortifications (see Military architecture & fortification, §III, 2(ii) and 4(ii)). His subsequent palace and church architecture was influential in spreading the Urbino style, which he renewed with reference to the architecture of Leon Battista Alberti but giving emphasis to the purism of smooth surfaces. His theoretical works, which include the first important Western writings on military engineering, were not published until modern times but were keenly studied in manuscript, by Leonardo da Vinci among others; they foreshadowed a number of developments that came to fruition in the 16th century (...
(d c. 1417–20).
Goldsmith, sculptor, and painter, probably of German origin. None of his works is known to have survived, but he is mentioned twice in mid-15th-century texts: in the second book of Lorenzo Ghiberti’s Commentarii and in the manuscript of the Anonimo Magliabecchiano. Both texts relate that Gusmin died during the reign of Pope Martin (i.e. Martin V, reg 1417–31), in the year of the 438th Olympiad (i.e. between 1415 and 1420). He worked in the service of the Duke of Anjou, who was forced to destroy Gusmin’s greatest work, a golden altar, in order to provide cash for his ‘public needs’. Gusmin consequently retired to a hermitage where he led a saintly life, painting and teaching young artists. Although it is clear from his account that Ghiberti never knew the master or saw any of his original works, he stated that he had seen casts of his sculptures, which, he said, were as fine as the work of the ancient Greeks, although the figures were rather short. There have been numerous attempts to identify Gusmin with artists, both German and Italian, fitting the account of Ghiberti and the Anonimo Magliabecchiano. Swarzenski first named Gusmin as the author of the alabaster Rimini altar (Frankfurt am Main, Liebieghaus), but this has now been demonstrated to be of Netherlandish workmanship. Krautheimer proposed a convincing reconstruction of Gusmin’s career, suggesting that his Angevin patron was ...
Pier Giorgio Pasini
(b Verona, c. 1420; d Rimini, after May 15, 1467).
Italian medallist, architect, painter and illuminator. He came from a good Veronese family (his father was a doctor, two of his brothers were in the church and three others were merchants). He is first documented in 1441, when he was working in Venice as painter to Piero di Cosimo de’ Medici illustrating Petrarch’s Trionfi (untraced). Subsequently (1444–6), he worked as an illuminator for the Este court, under the direction of Giorgio d’Alemagna. None of his works from this period is known.
By 1449 he was resident in Rimini, where he married Elisa di Giovanni Baldigara. There he was joined by Agostino di Duccio and other Venetian sculptors, working on the construction and decoration of two large funerary chapels (1447–c. 1452) for Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta, Lord of Rimini, and his mistress, Isotta degli Atti, in S Francesco (known as the Tempio Malatestiano). Initially Matteo was probably the organizer and supervisor of this project, but ...
Mary Margaret McDonnell Ford
(b Parma, Feb 15, 1508; d Venice, May 24, 1572).
Italian medallist, sculptor, bookbinder and dealer. He was an industrious student of the goldsmith Gianfrancesco Bonzagni, to whom he was related. In 1533 he produced a medal celebrating the foundation of the Venetian church of S Francesco della Vigna (begun by Jacopo Sansovino). This event was also commemorated in a medal (e.g. Brescia, Pin. Civ. Tosio–Martinengo) by a pupil of Vittore Gambello. Both works depict Doge Andrea Gritti, who laid the foundation-stone of the church in 1534, as well as showing Sansovino’s design. Spinelli’s medal contains a bust of Gritti on its face with the inscription ‘Gritti DVX Venetiar MDXXIII’. The Doge is shown facing to the left, bearded and clothed in a cap and robe. A portion of the chest and cap extends over part of one of the two circles encompassing the bust. On the reverse of the medal is an inscription, surrounded by maple leaves, to ‘DIVI Francisci MDXXXIIII’, and, in the exergue, the signature ‘An Sp F’ (Andrea Spinelli Fecit), together with the date. The design on the reverse is from a perspective drawing of the church, which intersects the inner of the two circles, as the bust of the Doge does on the obverse side. The inscription within the two circles surrounding the design also appears on both sides. The medal, cast in bronze, has a predominantly light brown patina, although part of it has a covering of black lacquer. An unusual spot or mark is visible behind the neck of the Doge....