Allegorical Scene

Andrea Riccio, Italian, 1470 - 1532


about 1510


Overall: 2 1/16 × 2 1/16 × 3/16 in. (5.3 × 5.3 × 0.5 cm)

Weight: 41 g (0.1 lb.)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Roger Arvid Anderson Collection - 250th Anniversary Gift, 1769-2019



Place Made: Italy, Europe



Object Name

Sculpture: Plaquette

Research Area


On view


Themes of chivalry and masculinity were popular for small reliefs that could be adapted into personal adornments. Plaquettes by Giovanni di Fondulino Fonduli were so consistently transformed into sword pommels, book bindings, and hat badges that the artist seemingly selected scenes specifically to appeal to collectors. Both Fondulino Fonduli and Moderno depicted an episode from Livy’s History of Rome in which the Roman soldier Marcus Curtius sacrificed himself for the good of the city by plunging, dressed in armor and astride a powerful horse, into the chasm that threatened to destroy Rome. Such stories were the perfect subject for Renaissance collectors who were steeped in antique literature and traditions, while the theme of pious self-sacrifice offered an aspirational model.

Hat badges often featured complex allegories and symbols that held personal significance for the wearer. Inside the decorative border of Riccio’s plaquette, for instance, is a composition that is densely packed with objects that are recognizable individually—a putto, a satyr, a tree, a snake, a fountain—but together form an allegorical scene that remains to be deciphered. Worn as an adornment, it would have allowed the wearer to demonstrate their education and refinement.

From the 2024 exhibition Living with Sculpture: Presence and Power in Europe, 1400–1750, curated by Elizabeth Rice Mattison, Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Academic Programming and Curator of European Art, and Ashley Offill, Curator of Collections

Exhibition History

Living with Sculpture: Presence and Power in Europe, 1400–1750, Citrin Family Gallery and Engles Family Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, March 23, 2024–March 22, 2025.

Publication History

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. 150.


New York art market; sold to Roger Arvid Anderson, San Francisco, California, date unknown; lent to present collection, 2011; given to present collection, 2016.

Catalogue Raisonne

Kress, Fig. 97, No. 224

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