- 17thC - 18thC
- Made in: Italy
- Weight: 126.45 grammes
- Diameter: 69 millimetres
Inscription ContentTIMVIT QVO SOSPITE VINCI
Inscription ContentRAPHAEL SANCTIVS VRBINAS
Temple University, Philadelphia
The obverse of the medal illustrates a typical likeness of Raphael Sanzio of Urbino, wearing a cap over wavy, shoulder-length hair. He is further identified by an inscription “RAPHAEL SANCTIVS VRBINAS.” The reverse features an image of Diana Polymastes, the Roman goddess of Nature (specifically hunting, wild animals, and childbirth), who is the equivalent of the Greek deity Artemis of Ephesus. The figure, based on her cult statue, is frontal and archaizing. She is shown in typical fashion: with a headdress, bound feet, and many breasts, and in this case feeds two deer, who often accompany her. The Latin inscription on the medal quotes part of Pietro Bembo’s epigram for the artist who died April 6, 1520. The famous distich “ILLE HIC EST RAPHAEL, TIMVIT QVO SOSPITE VINCI RERVM MAGNA PARENS, ET MORIENTE MORI” boasts that while Raphael was alive, Nature feared he would outdo her, and upon his death, she herself would die. Bembo’s full epigraph is inscribed on Raphael’s memorial in the Pantheon in Rome, and reads:
RAPHAELLI. SANCTIO. IOANN. F. VRBINATI.
PICTORI. EMINENTISS. VETERVMQ. AEMVLO
CVIVS. SPRIRANTEIS PROPE. IMAGINIS. SI.
CONTEMPLERE. NATVRAE. ATQVE. ARTIS. FOEDVS
IVLII II. ET. LEONIS. X. PONTT. MAXX. PICTVRAE
ET. ARCHITECT. OPERIBVS. GLORIAM AVXIT.
VA. XXXVII INTEGER. INTEGROS
QVO. DIE. NATVS EST. EO ESSE DE SIIT
VIII. ID APRIL. MDXX.
ILLE. HIC. EST. RAPHAEL. TIMVIT. QVO SOSPITE. VINCI
RERVM MAGNA PARENS ET MORIENTE MORI.
The medal fits within a series of images with similar iconographical meaning. A design after Federico Zuccaro from around 1600 (Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence) shows Raphael holding a sketch of Diana of Ephesus while posed as Isaiah from his frescos at Sant'Agostino in Rome. In his fanciful homage to Raphael, Carlo Maratti also makes this symbolic reference: in the lower left corner, a putto props up an image of Diana. Under the portrait of Raphael, a dedicatory inscription restates Bembo’s epitaph. The engraving served as the frontispiece of Imagines Veteris ac Novi Testamenti a Raphaele Sanctio Urbinate in Vaticani Palatii xystis mira pictura elegantia expressae (1675) which contains reproductions of Raphael’s work made by the printmaker Pietro Aquila. Maratti also designed a portrait of Raphael that was used as the frontispiece for Giovanni Pietro Bellori’s Descrizione delle Stanze di Raffaello (1695). The portrait of the medal, although in profile, closely resembles this image, and is a prototype which derives from Raphael’s self-portrait in the School of Athens. The medal was most likely cast at the same time or slightly after Maratti’s late seventeenth-century designs and before the mention of the same medal type from Brescia in Gaetanis’ Museum Mazzuchelianum of 1761. An illustration of the medal first appears in the frontispiece of Angelo Commoli’s Vita inedita di Raffaello da Urbino (1790), where an inscription notes, the medal used to the image was in the Museo Casali in Rome at the time. A lithograph from 1824 by Fridrich Rehberg represents an image of it enclosed within a laurel wreath. The medal, therefore, proves to be a part of a recurrent tribute to the master which honors him for his creative capacity to surpass Nature.
Brookes, Julian. Taddeo and Federico Zuccaro: artist-brothers in Renaissance Rome. Los
Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, (ex. cat.), 2007.
Hall, Marcia, ed. The Cambridge companion to Raphael. Cambridge: Cambridge University
Ost, Hans. ‘Ein Ruhmesblatt für Raphael bei Maratti und Mengs’, Zeitschrift für
kunstgeschichte 27 (1965): 281–298.
Pope-Hennessy, John. Raphael. London: Phaidon Press, 1970.
Shearman, John. Raphael in early modern sources 1483–1602. New Haven: Yale University
Schrötter, Elisabeth. ‘Raffael-kult und Raffael-forschung: Johann David Passavant und seine
Raffael-monographie im kontext der kunst und kunstgeschichte’, Römisches jarhbuch für kunstgeschichte 26 (1990): 303–398.
Winner, Matthias. ‘Poussins selbstbildnis von 1649’, "Il se rendit en Italie": études offertes à
André Chastel, Rome (1987): 371–401.
Coins & Medals
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Object reference number: CME286595
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