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on reverse, concentrically around periphery, behind arc from 6:00 to 11:00, initial letters somewhat worn: .VIVA.HERCVLE. (Long life to Ercole)[1]

Inscription Notes

[1] Presumably referring to Ercole I d'Este, duke of Ferrara (born 1431, duke 1471, died 1505), and therefore inscribed between 1471 and 1505, as established by Émile Molinier, Les Bronzes de la Renaissance. Les plaquettes: catalogue raisonné, 2 vols., Paris, 1886: 2:88, no. 502; the legend was incised on both of the known early specimens of the plaquette (the NGA example and one in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris). The inscription may not necessarily refer (as Molinier supposed) to a particular one of Ercole's external military victories, however, as much as to the more general factional struggles associated with his accession to the dukedom.

Marks and Labels

Reverse formerly bore previous inventory numbers 311(?) in red paint (Dreyfus), and 77 in yellow paint (Ricci 1931); numerals (of which chemical imprints survive) were removed in 1982 cleaning.


Gustave Dreyfus [1837-1914], Paris; his estate; purchased 1930 by (Duveen Brothers, Inc., London and New York); purchased 1945 by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York; gift 1957 to NGA.


Molinier, Émile. Les Bronzes de la Renaissance. Les Plaquettes; Catalogue Raisonné. 2 vols. Paris, 1886: 2:88, no. 502, as Northern Italian.
Ricci, Seymour de. The Gustave Dreyfus Collection. Reliefs and Plaquettes. Oxford, 1931: 60, no. 77, pl. 25, as by Pseudo-Melioli.
Renaissance Bronzes: Statuettes, Reliefs and Plaquettes, Medals and Coins from the Kress Collection. Introduction by Perry B. Cott. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1951: 144, as by Pseudo-Melioli.
Pope-Hennessy, John W. Renaissance Bronzes from the Samuel H. Kress Collection: Reliefs, Plaquettes, Statuettes, Utensils and Mortars. London, 1965: 59, no. 197, fig. 214, as by Pseudo-Melioli.
Wilson, Carolyn C. Renaissance Small Bronze Sculpture and Associated Decorative Arts at the National Gallery of Art. Washington, 1983: 95, no. 9, as by Pseudo-Melioli.
Rossi, Francesco. La collezione Mario Scaglia: placchette. 3 vols. Bergamo, 2011: 1:139, under Iconografia, and under Prototipo, M.3; 140 fig. b, as by the circle of Sperandio (?).

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