Monday, December 17, 2012

Book, Roma Resurgens: Papal Medals from the Age of the Baroque

In 1983 Nathan Whitman and John Varriano (from the University of Michigan Museum of Art) produced a carefully researched and beautiful book on Papal Medals.  They noted: "We found it necessary to immerse ourselves in papal history without losing sight of its relationship to the broad currents, political, economic, and intellectual, of western civilization."

"Each papal medal constitutes a rich field of study and are unique in that they were disseminated on a regular basis by a major social entity. Historically, they reveal the image that the papacy sought to present to the world at various phases of its existence. Sometimes that image corresponded to reality while at others it diverged sharply."

There is also an extensive bibliography in this book--many of the sources are Italian.

The authors provide this commentary on the medal "Joseph Reveals Himself to His Brothers"
(c1529-30):

"In conjunction with the inscription, "I am Joseph your brother," the recognition of the reverse as the Old Testament story of Joseph revealing himself to and at the same time forgiving the brothers who in the past had treated him so basely, presents no difficulty. Furthermore the identification of Joseph with Clement himself can not only be inferred from the placement of the scene on a reverse of that Pope, but is made explicit by the Medici arms adorning Joseph's throne."

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Some technical questions

Here are some technical questions. I am seeking the input of experts..


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Visit to ANS Library in NYC

I visited the American Numismatic Society Library at 75 Varick St., just off Canal St., in Lower Manhattan.

They have different volumes of the series by Cusumano and Modesti.  Particular attention was given to Pio XII, Nellas Medagli, 1939-1958. This was published in 1989 and includes posthumous medals. An interesting Appendix lists medals by artist.

I explored the Giovanni XXIII Nella Medaglia 1958-1963, by Modesti, published in 2010. One interesting feature of all these medals is the variety of hats worn by the Pope. Many show him in the Papal Tiara--he was the last Pope to wear this. He is also shown wearing what I would call a walking hat with wide brim, and also a soft cloth-leather cap.  I'm sure there is a name for this!

This volume shows 623 different medals on Good Pope John, from the Vatican as well as other sources.

I am planning more visits to ANA in the future.

Yes, NGC still grades Vatican, Papal States

Thank you, Peter Jencius, for your response about grading.

I wrote to NGC and received the following replay: