- Museum number
Cast bronze medal. Pierced. (whole)
Bust of Alfonso V, facing right, with thick hair, wearing a fur-trimmed dress; below, open crown; plain linear border. (obverse)
The young Alfonso, nude, hunting a boar whose ears are held by two hounds; the king, leaping on his back prepares to strike with a long dagger; hills rising on either side in the background; linear border ending in hooks to upper part of design. (reverse)
- Production date
- 1448 (dated on medal)
Diameter: 108 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.
Pisanello, with the assistance of his workshop, made three medals of the King of Naples in the same year. The meaning of this piece is clear this time since the image, derived from the ancient myths of Hercules and Meleager, is labelled 'brave hunter'. The youth has the hair cut and unmistakable profile of the King and thus the reverse is intended as an allegory of Alfonso's courage, not just on the hunting field, but in government and war.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2012/13 30 Nov-7 April, Bonn, Kunst-und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Treasures of the World's Cultures
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, 42d.
- C&M catalogue number
MI1 (Hill 1930) (12) (42) (D)