Cosimo Serristori

Meekness Standing and Holding Lamb

Bronze, 90.7 mm Ø, 173.52 g
Obverse:  Bust of Cosimo Serristori facing right, wearing a clerical robe, with unkempt hair and long beard. Around, COS · SERRISTORI / PATRITVS · FLORENT · (Cosimo Serristori, Florentine Patrician). Under the truncation, · S · .
Reverse:  Meekness standing and holding a lamb. Under her feet, a pile of weapons and arms. Around, NEC · FASCIBVS · / VLLIS · ERIGITVR (No Honors Raise It Higher). Below, in exergue, 1711 · .

Cosimo Serristori, son of Francesco Serristori, was born in 1644 into an ancient family in Figline Valdarno. One of his ancestors, Ser Ristoro, was notary to the Signoria of Florence and founded the Hospital of Figline Valdarno (today known as the Ospedale Serristori) in 1399. Though a nobleman, Cosimo kept both his hair and beard long and unkempt, and enjoyed working as a mason, carpenter, and blacksmith. Living at a villa in Castiglion Fiorentino, he moved to Florence upon the death of his brother Lodovico. After his brother's passing, he became sole heir to many possessions in the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Extremely devoted to Saint Filippo Neri, he took as an example the life of the saint and would dress in clerical robes. He was also interested in the study of physics and medicine, often frequenting the Hospital of Santa Maria Nuova in Florence. Cosimo died in 1714 and left all of his possessions to the Oratory of St. Filippo Neri in Castiglion Fiorentino.

The medal celebrates the virtues of Cosimo, with articles of war being found under the feet of the allegorical representation of Meekness, who is holding a lamb. In addition to symbolizing meekness, the lamb was also a symbol of patience, humility, and innocence. The reverse inscription comes from a writing by the ancient Roman poet Claudian discussing virtue.

The medal's portrait is often held as one of the best medallic accomplishments of Soldani-Benzi. Vannel and Toderi note that "l'espressivo ritratto del diritto è uno dei più belli del medaglista" (the expressive portrait on the obverse is one of the best of the medallist). Mark Jones singles out this portrait from Soldani's medals, saying "[Soldani's] portraits, at their best, as, for example, that of Serristori Patriti [sic] dated 1711 combine strongly characterized features with ... liveliness in the flow of drapery and hair".

Provenance:

Dr. Busso Peus Nachf. 411, 31 October 2013, lot 1207 (Dr. Günther Brockmann collection).

References:

Jones 1979

Vannel and Toderi 1987, no. 63

Börner 1997, no. 1507