Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sculpture of the Day: The Congress Medal for the 1992 Fédération Internationale de la Médaille

Medal by Ronald Searle, 1992
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Here we see the official Congress medal for the 1992 Fédération Internationale de la Médaille which was designed and modeled by Ronald Searle.  The celebrated artist had previously produced several medals for the British Art Medal Society.  This medal was struck at the Royal Mint and was issued in limited edition in silver and bronze. The design, as was typical of Searle, is humorously and affectionately based on a portrait medal of Antonio Pisanello, the famed Fifteenth Century Italian painter and medal-maker.

Searle, as was his habit, plays with convention.  This, however, isn’t unusual.  In contemporary medals, designer often question the traditional format, appearance and purpose. Here, Ronald Searle wittily pokes fun at the traditional medal format. Traditionally in a medal, a portrait graces one side with a different image on the reverse. When this medal is turned over, the reverse reveals the back of Pisanello’s head.

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