Purchased from Oronzio Lelli in 1890 for 6s 6d (8 lire)
Medallion of Giovanni Pietro d'Avenza
Unidentified Luccan sculptor
Lucca Cathedral, Lucca, Italy
Portrait of Giovanni Pietro Vitelli, a humanist born in Avenza, who taught at the universities of Brescia, in Venice and in Lucca, where he died in 1457. Inscribed: IOANNES PETRUS LVCEN DOCTVS GRAECE ET LATINE INGENIO MITI+PROBO Q. (Giovanni Pietro of Lucca learned in Greek and Latin, with a gentle and virtuous nature). The medallion was attributed to Matteo Civitali (1436-1501) by Ridolfi (1882). This attribution was refuted in 1977 by Ulrich Middeldorf, who showed that the medallion derived from a bronze medal by Pisanello in a private collection. The roundel conforms to the medal both in the sitter's features and the text of the inscription. If the attribution of the bronze medal is correct, it can be dated to before 1450, the year of Pisanello's death. The marble roundel seems, however, to be of a later date than the medal as the costume in the former is dateable to circa 1500.