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Medalist A.A.
Emilian, active second half 16th century
Ardenti, Agostino
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Biography

The Medalist A.A. is a shadowy figure, identified as either Alessandro or as his brother Agostino Ardenti. Alessandro was born in Faenza, active as a painter in Lucca in 1539, responsible for signed and dated paintings in the city between 1565 and 1568 and then employed by the Savoy court at Turin between 1572 and his death in 1595.[1] Modern research into the career of Agostino, however, finds no trace of his being active as a medalist.[2] A painter with the same name, possibly the son of Ardenti of Faenza and called "luccese" has also been suggested as the author of medals.[3] Habich identified the medalist as Agostino of Faenza, brother of Alessandro, author of the Savoy medals signed A.AR.[4]

The earliest mention of an Ardenti as a medalist appears in the manuscript catalogue of medals made by Basilius Amerbach of Basel, recording a group of medals acquired in 1575 from his friend Ludovic Demoulin de Rochefort, with the artist's signature as AR (ligatured) for AR [denti].[5]

A total of eight medals is ascribed to Ardenti, including pieces signed simply "A.A."[6] They are in a varied style, some resembling the work of Ruspagiari of Reggio Emilia, some in a more straightforward style, and one portraying Titian in an elaborate form that appears to echo an unidentified graphic or painted source.[7] It is curious that although the medalist signed work portraying persons at the Savoy court, no trace of him has been found in the Savoy archives.

[Published in: John Graham Pollard. Renaissance Medals. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. 2 vols. Washington, 2007]

[1] Georg Habich, Die Medaillen der italienischen Renaissance, Stuttgart and Berlin, 1922: 139; Ida Belli Barsali, “Ardenti, Alessandro,” In Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani 4 (1962): 18-19, as Alessandro.

[2] Alessandro Baudi di Vesme. Schede Vesme I, Turin, 1963: 44-50.

[3] Belli Barsali 1962, 18.

[4] Habich 1922, 139.

[5] Rudolf F. Burckhardt, “Uber die Medaillensammlung des Ludovic Demoulin de Rochefort im Historischen Museum zu Basel,” Anzeiger für Schweizerischen Altertumskunde 20 (1918): 44, identified as Alessandro Ardenti.

[6] G.F. Hill and Max Rosenheim, “Notes on some Italian Medals,” The Burlington Magazine 12 (1907): 141-142, 147 (five medals); Burckhardt 1918, 47-49 (two unpublished medals); G.F. Hill, “Some Italian Medals of the Renaissance,” in Georg Habich zum 60 Geburstag, Munich, 1928: 11-12 (medal of Titian).

[7] Hill 1928, 11-12.

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