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Pisanello (с. 1395-1455), cast bronze medal of John VIII Palaeologus, emperor of Byzantium
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This medal is a portrait of John VIII Palaeologus, the last but one ruler of the Byzantine empire. The medal was produced to commemorate the visit of this emperor to the city of Ferrara in 1438 at the invitation of Pope Eugenius IV, for a council intended to unite the Greek and Latin churches. Plague in the city forced the council's removal to Florence in February 1439 and thus the piece's inception, if not its actual execution, can be precisely dated.

The artist, Pisanello, spent most of his career in the princely courts of Italy, and his presence in Ferrara is documented by eye-witness drawings he made of the emperor and his entourage. It is thought the medal's production was inspired by two medals of the Roman emperors Constantine and Heraclius (these were actually of early fifteenth-century French workmanship, but they were originally thought to have been antique).

Pisanello (с. 1395-1455), cast bronze medal of John VIII Palaeologus, emperor of Byzantium


Cast in Ferrara, Italy, с. AD 1438-42
D. 10.3 cm
George III Collection



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