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Gianfrancesco Enzola

Parmese, active 1455/1478

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Gianfrancesco di Luca Enzola is recorded as working as a goldsmith, medalist and die engraver between 1455 and 1478. Nothing is known of his pupilage or the sources of his style, but he was an artist of some originality on two counts: He was the first medalist to produce struck portrait medals in the Renaissance, and he was sufficient enough as a sculptor to have anticipated the extraordinary portrait effigies of Niccolò Fiorentino's school of the late fifteenth century. The earliest medals by Enzola date between 1455 and 1471 and portray Francesco I Sforza of Milan, Galeazzo Maria Sforza, and the rulers of Berceto, Forlì, and Faenza. These medals were originally struck, although struck specimens are exceedingly rare.

Enzola is recorded as being active in Parma between 1467 and 1471 and was master of the mint in Ferrara 1472-1473. For Costanzo Sforza of Pesaro, Enzola produced a group of large cast portrait medals, dated 1475, with effigies in high relief. There is record of a similar large medal of Federigo da Montefeltro, duke of Urbino, impressed in a leather bookbinding. Some of these medals have complex pictorial reverses with crowded designs and cramped, meanly lettered inscriptions. The reverses also exist as signed plaquettes, whose designs look as if they are translations into metal relief of manuscript illuminations. The medal of the duke of Urbino (George Francis Hill, A Corpus of the Italian Medals of the Renaissance before Cellini, London, 1930: no. 295), which is dated 1478, is the last record of Enzola's career.

[This is the artist's biography published in the NGA systematic catalogue of Renaissance medals.]

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