Benedetto Averani

Minerva Standing

Bronze, 87.3 mm Ø, 178.0 g
Obverse:  Bust of Benedetto Averani facing right, with long curly hair and draped cloak. Around, BENEDICTVS AVERANIVS FLOR · (Benedetto Averani, Florentine).
Reverse:  Minerva standing facing left, holding a shield in her left hand and a spear in her right. To the left, an olive tree. In the background, a view of a city surrounded by fortified walls. Around, PARIT · SAPIENTIA · PACEM · (Wisdom Brings Peace). In exergue, · MDCCVII · (1707).

Benedetto Averani was born in Florence in 1645. Early on, he wrote a number of poems in Latin, including one in honor of St. Thomas Aquinas. He later received a degree in jurisprudence in Pisa, and then worked at the Accademia degli Apatisti in Florence. In 1676, Cosimo III de' Medici gave to Averani the position as chair of Greek letters, a position which he held for thirty years. He was invited by the Republic of Venice to transfer to the University of Padua, and also by Pope Innocent XI to go to Rome, but he declined both. Averani died in Pisa on December 28, 1707.

The preferred interpretation of the reverse, proposed by the Museo Mazzucchelliano, is that it refers to the peace that was currently being enjoyed by Florence while the rest of Italy was embroiled in war. To match with the inscription, it is noted that the olive tree, a symbol of peace, grows from where the spear of Minerva, the goddess of wisdom, touches the ground. That this peace refers to Florence is relayed by the view of the city in the background. However, Vannel and Toderi also point out that Domenico Maria Manno interpreted the reverse as referring to the death of Averani.

Provenance:

Stack's Bowers Galleries, 8-13 January 2016, lot 42549.

References:

Vannel and Toderi 1987, no. 58

Börner 1997, no. 1503

Vannel and Toderi 2005, nos. 216-221