Attributed to Hans Kels the Younger (1508/101565)
South German (Augsburg)
Boxwood; Diam. 1 3/4 in. (4.1 cm)
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917 (17.190.487)
The humanistic reevaluation of classical antiquity combined with the desire to commemorate personal prosperity, unique individual achievement, and public recognition within the structure of the Renaissance aristocratic and urban society fueled the aspiration to establish durable earthly immortality by means of painted portraits and sculpture. An even more efficient way was the portrait medal combining lasting commemoration with lasting, often precious materials. They could be produced in some numbers and distributed to a selected circle of connoisseurs to survive the erosion of time. Medals were regarded as artifacts and carefully preserved. Some collector's aimed at a diversified collection of medallions and medals made out of different materials. These items were the ideal objects to be handled in order to experience the distinctive touch of a variety of sumptuous materials, such as honestone (Clara Rosenberger, 17.190.468), ivory, boxwood, bronze, or gold and silver (Maximillian II/Empress Maria, 1989.12.2,3).