- Museum number
Cast bronze medal (whole)
The Three Graces, nude. The middle one is seen from behind, her head in profile to the right is a portrait of Giovanna, she embracs the others; the one on the left is holding ears of corn whilst the one on the right is holding a branch. (reverse)
Bust of Giovanna Tornabuoni facing right, her hair in curls covering her cheek and coiled in a braid at the back. She is wearing a low cut bodie and necklace with quatre-foil jewel and large pendent pearl. (obverse)
- Production date
Diameter: 78 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Blurton 1997
The reverse of a medal was used to express the particular virtues of the medal's subject. It might therefore employ a well-known representation of virtues like faith or charity, which were depicted as women carrying an easily recognized attribute. Alternatively the subject could be identified with a famous historical or mythological figure, a god or goddess or a man or woman famous for particular qualities. But medals were often intended to provoke scholarly debate and so the reverse imagery was sometimes intentionally obscure, turning the medal into a riddle to be solved. Thus traditional personifications might be adapted or new images invented.
The 1486 marriage of Giovanna degli Albizzi to Lorenzo Tornabuoni united two of the leading families of Florence and this medal was probably made to commemorate the event.
The medallist has given Giovanna's features to each of the three Graces, the handmaidens of Venus, Roman goddess of Love. Lest there should be any problem in their interpretation they are helpfully labelled: Chastity, Beauty [and] Love.
- On display (G1/fc11)
- Exhibition history
1998 9 Feb-3 May, India, Mumbai, Sir Caswasjee Jahangir Hall, The Enduring Image
1997 13 Oct-1998 5 Jan, India, New Delhi, National Museum, The Enduring Image
- Acquisition date
- Coins and Medals
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: Hill, 1021c
- C&M catalogue number
MI1 (Hill 1930) (267) (1021) (C)