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A Handheld History: Five Centuries of Medals from the Molinari Collection at Bowdoin College

July 26, 2018 - January 6, 2019

"A Handheld History" allows viewers to experience the intimacy and poignancy of portrait medals spanning nearly five centuries and to consider the lessons they have to impart to contemporary audiences.

Introduction

A Handheld History marks the first time since 1976 that the Bowdoin College Museum of Art’s prestigious Molinari Medals Collection has been the subject of a dedicated exhibition. Organized by Bowdoin students Amber Orosco ’19, Stephen Pastoriza ’19, and Benjamin Wu ’18, this installation allows viewers to experience the intimacy and poignancy of portrait medals spanning nearly five centuries and to consider the lessons they have to impart to contemporary audiences.

Donated to the Bowdoin College Museum of Art over fifty years ago, the collection reflects the generosity of Cesare and Amanda Molinari, who also provided an exceptional library to support study of these works. Highlights of these related bibliographic materials are included, reflecting the evolution of numismatics scholarship from the sixteenth century up to the present day.

The show unfolds around three central themes: Portraiture and the Representation of Identity, Political Ideologies and Propaganda, and Collecting a Handheld History, which show the development of the medal as an artistic, social, and political statement. Related prints and paintings demonstrate the remarkable power of these objects to convey erudition, intellectual achievement, personal virtue, and political power. In short, this selection from Bowdoin’s Molinari Collection makes clear the power of a handheld history from the early fifteenth century to the present: a compact, durable, and compelling representation of the long sway of cultural authority and leadership.

Major support for this exhibition has been provided by an anonymous donor. Additional support was received from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Becker Fund for the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, and by a matching gift from the Lunder Foundation for conservation work at the Williamstown Art Conservation Center.

Experience the "Handheld History on Your Handheld Device" guide.

Works in the Exhibition

 “John VIII Paleologus (1392–1448), Emperor of Constantinople 1425–1448,” ca. 1438, lead, by Antonio di Puccio Pisano (Pisanello), Italian, 1395–1455. Gift of Amanda Marchesa Molinari. 1966.103

“John VIII Paleologus (1392–1448), Emperor of Constantinople 1425–1448,” ca. 1438, lead, by Antonio di Puccio Pisano (Pisanello), Italian, 1395–1455. Gift of Amanda Marchesa Molinari. 1966.103

“Francesco da Sangallo (1494–1576) and Elena Marsuppini,” 1551, bronze, cast, by Francesco da Sangallo, Italian, 1494–1576. Gift of the Misses Harriet Sarah and Mary Sophia Walker. 1895.35

“Francesco da Sangallo (1494–1576) and Elena Marsuppini,” 1551, bronze, cast, by Francesco da Sangallo, Italian, 1494–1576. Gift of the Misses Harriet Sarah and Mary Sophia Walker. 1895.35

“Francesco da Sangallo (1494–1576) and Elena Marsuppini,” 1551, (reverse), bronze, cast, by Francesco da Sangallo, Italian, 1494–1576. Gift of the Misses Harriet Sarah and Mary Sophia Walker. 1895.35

“Francesco da Sangallo (1494–1576) and Elena Marsuppini,” 1551, (reverse), bronze, cast, by Francesco da Sangallo, Italian, 1494–1576. Gift of the Misses Harriet Sarah and Mary Sophia Walker. 1895.35

“Alexander VIII (1610–1691), Pope 1689–1691,” 1689, bronze, Roman School, Italian, seventeenth century. Gift of Amanda Marchesa Molinari. 1966.121.a

“Alexander VIII (1610–1691), Pope 1689–1691,” 1689, bronze, Roman School, Italian, seventeenth century. Gift of Amanda Marchesa Molinari. 1966.121.a

"Louis XIV," ca. 1702, bronze, gilding, silver by Jean Mauger. Gift of Amanda Marchesa Molinari. Bowdoin College Museum of Art.  1966.131.1.b

"Louis XIV," ca. 1702, bronze, gilding, silver by Jean Mauger. Gift of Amanda Marchesa Molinari. Bowdoin College Museum of Art. 1966.131.1.b

"Louis XIV," ca. 1702, (reverse) bronze, gilding, silver by Jean Mauger.  Gift of Amanda Marchesa Molinari. Bowdoin College Museum of Art.  1966.131.1.b

"Louis XIV," ca. 1702, (reverse) bronze, gilding, silver by Jean Mauger. Gift of Amanda Marchesa Molinari. Bowdoin College Museum of Art. 1966.131.1.b

“Laura Maria Caterina Bassi (1711–1778), professor of philosophy at the University of Bologna,” 1732, gilt, bronze, struck, by Antonio Lazari (Antonio Lazzari), Italian, active 1709–1734. Gift of Amanda Marchesa Molinari. 1966.107.8.a

“Laura Maria Caterina Bassi (1711–1778), professor of philosophy at the University of Bologna,” 1732, gilt, bronze, struck, by Antonio Lazari (Antonio Lazzari), Italian, active 1709–1734. Gift of Amanda Marchesa Molinari. 1966.107.8.a

“Laura Maria Caterina Bassi (1711–1778), professor of philosophy at the University of Bologna,” 1732, (reverse), gilt, bronze, struck, by Antonio Lazari (Antonio Lazzari), Italian, active 1709–1734. Gift of Amanda Marchesa Molinari. 1966.107.8.a

“Laura Maria Caterina Bassi (1711–1778), professor of philosophy at the University of Bologna,” 1732, (reverse), gilt, bronze, struck, by Antonio Lazari (Antonio Lazzari), Italian, active 1709–1734. Gift of Amanda Marchesa Molinari. 1966.107.8.a

“Voltaire (1694–1778),” 1770, bronze, struck, by George Christian Waechter, German, 1729–ca. 1789. Gift of Amanda Marchesa Molinari. 1966.130.40.a

“Voltaire (1694–1778),” 1770, bronze, struck, by George Christian Waechter, German, 1729–ca. 1789. Gift of Amanda Marchesa Molinari. 1966.130.40.a

“Voltaire (1694–1778),” 1770, (reverse), bronze, struck, by George Christian Waechter, German, 1729–ca. 1789. Gift of Amanda Marchesa Molinari. 1966.130.40.a

“Voltaire (1694–1778),” 1770, (reverse), bronze, struck, by George Christian Waechter, German, 1729–ca. 1789. Gift of Amanda Marchesa Molinari. 1966.130.40.a

“Ferdinand VII (1784–1833), King of Spain 1808, 1814–1833,” 1809, bronze, gilt, struck, by Pedro Juan Maria de Guerrero, Mexican, active ca. 1808–1825. Gift of Amanda Marchesa Molinari. 1966.137.256.a

“Ferdinand VII (1784–1833), King of Spain 1808, 1814–1833,” 1809, bronze, gilt, struck, by Pedro Juan Maria de Guerrero, Mexican, active ca. 1808–1825. Gift of Amanda Marchesa Molinari. 1966.137.256.a

“Ferdinand VII (1784–1833), King of Spain 1808, 1814–1833,” 1809, (reverse), bronze, gilt, struck, by Pedro Juan Maria de Guerrero, Mexican, active ca. 1808–1825. Gift of Amanda Marchesa Molinari. 1966.137.256.a

“Ferdinand VII (1784–1833), King of Spain 1808, 1814–1833,” 1809, (reverse), bronze, gilt, struck, by Pedro Juan Maria de Guerrero, Mexican, active ca. 1808–1825. Gift of Amanda Marchesa Molinari. 1966.137.256.a

 “Emmanuel, Comte de Las-Cases (1766–1842), historian,” 1830, bronze, cast by Pierre Jean David d’Angers, French, 1788–1856. Gift of Amanda Marchesa Molinari. 1966.135.6.a

“Emmanuel, Comte de Las-Cases (1766–1842), historian,” 1830, bronze, cast by Pierre Jean David d’Angers, French, 1788–1856. Gift of Amanda Marchesa Molinari. 1966.135.6.a

"Pius IX (1792–1878), Pope 1846–1878, Reconsecration of the Basilica of St. Paul,"1854, bronze, struck, Ignazio Bianchi, Italian, active 1848–1869. Gift of Amanda Marchesa Molinari. 1966.114.2.a

"Pius IX (1792–1878), Pope 1846–1878, Reconsecration of the Basilica of St. Paul,"1854, bronze, struck, Ignazio Bianchi, Italian, active 1848–1869. Gift of Amanda Marchesa Molinari. 1966.114.2.a

"Pius IX (1792–1878), Pope 1846–1878, Reconsecration of the Basilica of St. Paul," 1854, (reverse), bronze, struck, Ignazio Bianchi, Italian, active 1848–1869. Gift of Amanda Marchesa Molinari. 1966.114.2.a

"Pius IX (1792–1878), Pope 1846–1878, Reconsecration of the Basilica of St. Paul," 1854, (reverse), bronze, struck, Ignazio Bianchi, Italian, active 1848–1869. Gift of Amanda Marchesa Molinari. 1966.114.2.a

“The Sinking of the Lusitania,” 1916, iron, by Karl Goetz, German, 1875–1950. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Mark M. Salton. 1978.32.52.b

“The Sinking of the Lusitania,” 1916, iron, by Karl Goetz, German, 1875–1950. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Mark M. Salton. 1978.32.52.b

“The Sinking of the Lusitania,” 1916, (reverse), iron, by Karl Goetz, German, 1875–1950. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Mark M. Salton. 1978.32.52.b

“The Sinking of the Lusitania,” 1916, (reverse), iron, by Karl Goetz, German, 1875–1950. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Mark M. Salton. 1978.32.52.b

“Marcel Duchamp Art Medal (based on Bouche-Évier or Sink Stopper),” 1967, silver, cast (25/100), by Marcel Duchamp, Franco-American, 1887–1968. Gift of John C. Pickard, Class of 1922. 1967.68.a

“Marcel Duchamp Art Medal (based on Bouche-Évier or Sink Stopper),” 1967, silver, cast (25/100), by Marcel Duchamp, Franco-American, 1887–1968. Gift of John C. Pickard, Class of 1922. 1967.68.a

“Marcel Duchamp Art Medal (based on Bouche-Évier or Sink Stopper),” 1967, (reverse), silver, cast (25/100), by Marcel Duchamp, Franco-American, 1887–1968. Gift of John C. Pickard, Class of 1922. 1967.68.a

“Marcel Duchamp Art Medal (based on Bouche-Évier or Sink Stopper),” 1967, (reverse), silver, cast (25/100), by Marcel Duchamp, Franco-American, 1887–1968. Gift of John C. Pickard, Class of 1922. 1967.68.a

Visiting the Exhibition

July 26, 2018 - January 6, 2019

    Markell Gallery