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Bartolommeo Melioli

Mantuan, 1448 - 1514

Melioli, Bartolommeo di Virgilio

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Bartolomeo di Virgilio Melioli appears to have spent his entire life working in Mantua. Melioli's style is derived from the work of Cristoforo di Geremia (active 1456-1476). Melioli was appointed master of the mint at Mantua in 1492, holding the office until probably 1500.[1]

Melioli's five signed medals depict the king of Denmark, Christian I (made during a visit to Mantua in 1474); Lodovico II Gonzaga, second marquess of Mantua (the artist's earliest dated medal); and three members of the Gonzaga family. Another group of four medals is attributed to the artist. A bronze bust of Mantegna in the church of Sant'Andrea has been wrongly ascribed to Melioli,[2] and a body of plaquettes attributed to him is no longer accepted as his work.[3]

[1] He had apparently been superseded by September 1500, when Gianfrancesco Ruberti was referred to as presidente de la cecha (superintendent of the mint; George Francis Hill, A Corpus of Italian Medals of the Renaissance before Cellini, London, 1930: 47).

[2] The bust is now regarded as a self-portrait; see Anthony Radcliffe in Splendours of the Gonzaga, ed. David Chambers and Jane Martineau, Exh. cat., Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1981: 121, no. 30, and in Medaglisti nell'età di Mantegna e il Trionfo di Cesare, Exh. cat., Cala del Mantegna, Mantua, 1992: 90, no. 1.

[3] John Pope-Hennessy, Renaissance Bronzes from the Samuel H. Kress Collection: Reliefs, Plaquettes, Statuettes, Utensils and Mortars, London, 1965: nos. 190-202.

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

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