The obverse of a round portrait medal showing the head and shoulders of a bearded man in profile wearing Roman armour, with a legend around the border

Portrait Medal of Cosimo I de Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany

1561 - 1565
LDOSJ 1562
42mm diameter

The portrait medal of Cosimo I de Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany (1537-74), was commissioned to celebrate the marriage of his son Francesco to Joanna of Austria in 1565.

It was one of a series of thirteen medals made to decorate the courtyard of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence for Joanna’s formal entry into the city. However, the original design of the medal may have dated from 1561, commemorating the addition of Siena to Medici holdings following a brutal siege in 1554-5, with the final stronghold falling in 1559. The annexation of the city was ratified by the treaty of Cateau-Cambresis the same year. His victory over Siena eliminated the duke’s last remaining rival in Tuscany and helped consolidate his power.

The legend on the reverse of Cosimo’s portrait medal reads ‘HERUTRIA PACATA’ [Tuscany Pacified]. The image of the lion on the reverse of the medal represents Florence, and the she-wolf Sienna, with the figure of Concord standing between them. The image of Concord seems to have been derived from a coin of the Roman Emperor Quintilius (270 AD). Cosimo’s use of this image may have been a subtle way of associating himself with Imperial power. The medal served to celebrate a victory, a marriage and underline the duke’s authority.


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