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This avant-garde bronze medal of Francesco Petrarca (1304-1374), one of the greatest poets of early Renaissance Italy, was issued in 1974, Milan, to commemorate the VI centenary of his death.  The medal was the work of the master medalist and sculptor Angelo Grilli (1932-2015), who won the Numismatic Art Award for Excellence in Medallic Sculpture in 2015.  Grilli’s works have long been exhibited in museums, including the Vatican Museum, the Residenz Museum in Munich and the Wroclaw Museum in Krakow. 


Petrarca has been known for falling in love with a woman called Laura in 1327 in the church of Sainte-Claire d'Avignon, after he gave up his vocation as a priest.  On the observe side of the medal, Grilli features Petrarca’s hand, which carries a symbolic significance: the touching of the lovers’ hands transcending death; in Rime Sparse, Petrarca often imagines his hand meeting the accepting hand of Laura when one of them departs this life.  On the reverse, Grilli features a woman with two children, as Petrarca is believed to have fathered a son and a daughter, Giovanni and Francesca, by an unknown woman, despite how his career as a priest prohibited him to marry. This Grilli’s medal captures Petrarca’s conception of Love as “the crowning grace of humanity”. 


The size of this medal is 6 cm (diameter), and its condition is extremely fine, uncirculated and rare.   

Francesco Petrarch Medal

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