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."

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