Eustachio Boiani

Greyhound Lying Under Fruit Tree

Bronze, 71.2 mm Ø, 120.4 g
Anonymous Venetian artist, 1552.
Obverse:  Bust of Eustachio Boiani facing right, wearing pleated shirt and coat. Around, EVSTACHIVS BOIANVS FRANC · EQVIT · FIL · FABRICAR CÆPIT AN · SVO LXII · (Eustachio Boiani, son of the knight Francesco, began to build in his sixty-second year).
Reverse:  A greyhound facing right, lying in a flowery field under a fruit tree, with an untethered leash. A vine runs through the tree, and a bird sits perched at the top of the tree. Around, SIC VIVENDO DIV VIVITVR AN · M · D · XXV · CVR · CV · ÆTATE SVA AGRICVL · CÆPIT (Living thus as a means to a long life; in 1525, at his age, he began the study of agriculture); inscription divided by vine-leaf on stalk.

Eustachio Boiani (1490-1573) was born in Cividale del Friuli, studied law, and became an esteemed jurisconsult. Known for his eloquence, he often spoke for the rights of his homeland before the Senate of the Serenissima in Venice. He also had a passion for agriculture, which he devoted himself to since 1525. Eustachio renovated his family's villa in Ipplis in 1552 and commissioned this as a foundation medal. An example of this medal was found during demolition of a wall of the villa.

The obverse inscription refers to construction at Boiani's villa in 1552. The reverse inscription turns to his passion for agriculture, and credits it as his means to a long and healthy life. The greyhound was used as an emblem of the virtuous ruler or magistrate in the Renaissance, likely referring here to Eustachio's work as jurisconsult. Though leashed, the hound appears untethered, and thus allowed to run free if desired. The fruit tree no doubt relates to Boiani's agricultural pursuits; the vine trained through the tree and the bountiful harvest in its branches speaks to the success of these pursuits.

References:

Hill 1930, no. 525

Saffiotti Dale 2014, no. 38

Scher 1994, no. 32

Toderi and Vannel 2000, no. 769

Voltolina 1998, no. 469