- Museum number
A scene of Sacrifice with female figures, design for a medal, oval
Pen and brown ink, with grey wash
- Production date
Height: 76 millimetres
Width: 74 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- As noted by Syson, the drawing most closely relates to a small oval plaquette, itself derived from an engraved gem, both attributed to Belli (see Belli catalogue no. 107, p. 346). The London drawing differs from the plaquette in a few small details: the leftmost figure is female not male; the border is beaded; and the semi-circular pediment is flattened to fit the circular format. It is probable that the design is an adaptation of an ancient Roman games counter. Such a derivation is in keeping with Belli's creation of pseudo-classical coins, a production that makes up the bulk of his oeuvre. In this category falls the medal of Hypsicratia, the queen of Mithridates VI, which has a simplified version of the drawing's composition on its reverse, with a similar altar and architecture but fewer figures (Belli catalogue no. 236). Syson suggests that the drawing was made for the medal but was rejected (perhaps because the composition was too crowded), and the design re-used for the gem and plaquette. Gasparotto in the Belli catalogue rejects an attribution to Belli, suggesting instead that it is a sixteenth-century derivation from the plaquette.
Literature: L. Syson, 'Designs on Posterity: Drawings for Medals', in M. Jones (ed.), 'Designs on Posterity', London, 1994, p. 234, fig. 7a; H. Burns, M. Collareta and D. Gasparotto (eds), 'Valerio Belli Vicentino 1486c-1546', Vicenza, under nos. 107 and 258, pp. 346 and 387, fig. 27, illustrated p. 508 (as anoymous 16th century after Belli)
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
Sept - Oct 1992, BM, 'Drawings for Medals'
1996/7 Dec-Mar, Vicenza, Palazzo Thiene, 'Valerio Belli Vicentino'
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- This item has an uncertain or incomplete provenance for the years 1933-45. The British Museum welcomes information and assistance in the investigation and clarification of the provenance of all works during that era.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number