Bronze plaquettes and medals were sought after by European collectors in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Made at a time when scholars and artists were increasingly interested in the Greek and Roman past, these metal casts could feature ancient history and myths to inspire their viewers. This group of bronzes celebrates ancient soldiers as models of valor. Such exemplars included both archetypal fighters and named figures. For instance, two plaquettes celebrate the mythological soldier Marcus Curtius, who sacrificed himself to the gods to save Rome by jumping into a crevasse. Other plaquettes feature imagined ancient battles, pausing the soldiers in courageous moments; they defend their city and drive back their enemies. In addition to being collected by the nobility, such medals could also be given as gifts as rewards for brave deeds.
From the 2023 exhibition Recording War: Images of Violence 1500 – 1900, curated by Elizabeth Rice Mattison, Andrew W. Mellon Associate Curator of Academic Programming
Antiquity in Rome from the Renaissance to the Age of Enlightenment: Selections from Dartmouth's Collections, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, July 7-September 9, 2001.
Ivan Albright Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, April 12-July 28, 2002.
Recording War: Images of Violence, 1500-1900, Ivan Albright Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, May 20-December 9, 2023.
T. Barton Thurber and Adrian W.B. Randolph, Antiquity in Rome from the Renaissance to the Age of Enlightenment: Selections from Dartmouth's Collections, Hanover, New Hampshire: Trustees of Dartmouth College, 2001, listed p.73.
Roger Arvid Anderson, The Roger Arvid Anderson Collection, Medals, Medallions, Plaquettes and Small Reliefs, Paintings, Sculpture, Works on Paper and Textiles, San Francisco: Roger Arvid Anderson (published privately), design by David L. Wilson, 2015, p. 174.
Blumka II Gallery (Anthony Blumka), New York, New York; sold to Roger Arvid Anderson, San Francisco, California, January 20, 1988; lent to present collection, 1998; given to present collection, 2016.
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