Historical and Commemorative
Collection of Benjamin Weiss
Fortini, Giovacchino: Giovacchino Fortini (1672-1736) was a sculptor, architect and medallist. He was a student of Carlo Marcellini and Guiseppe Piamontini. He was an architect of the Royal Gallery and of the Rich Chapel of St. Lorenzo and executed marble portraits and medals of the grand ducal family. (Molinari)
Gennaro, Maria Antonio de: Maria Antonio de Gennaro (also Antonio de Januario) (1679-1744) was the son of a die engraver in Naples. Between 1702 and1730 he worked in Vienna and Naples. He also worked in Salzburg, Saxony and Poland. In 1731 he was named director the Graveur-Akademie of the Vienna mint. For the strength and beauty of its execution, his medal of Antonio Magliabecchi, Librarian at Florence, is one of my personal favorites.
Guglielmada, Giovanni Battista: Guglielmada was a medallist of the second half of the seventeenth century (active 1665-1688, died 1689). He worked for Popes Clement IX and X, Innocent XI, for the Dukes of Mantua and Modena and for King John Sobiesku of Poland. He also engraved a number of dies for medals originally cast by Soldani-Benzi. These included several of Queen Christina of Sweden and of the Queen’s friend, Cardinal Azzolino, examples of which are shown in this section.
Hamerani, Giovanni Martino: Giovanni Martino Hamerani (1649-1705) was one of a family of celebrated medallists and coin engravers who were employed for nearly two centuries at the Papal Zecca of Rome. Giovanni Hamerani was born in Rome, the son of Alberto Hamerani. Giovanni left behind two sons, Ermenegildo and Ottone and a daughter Beatrice, all three of whom distinguished themselves as noted medal engravers. After his father’s death, Giovanni Hamerani was appointed Medallist to Pope Clement X and later also to Innocent XI, Alexander VIII, Innocent XII, and Clement XI. In 1684 Hamerani was elected to be a member of the Academy of St. Luca. Bolzenthal remarks that this artist, in common with his father, possessed a pure artistic taste, and in style, expression and strength of execution, was much superior to the engravers of his time. (Forrer).
Hamerani, Ottone: Ottone (Otto) Hamerani (1694-1768), the younger son of Giovanni Hamerani, was a medallist and coin engraver from Rome. He held the office of Medallist to Popes Clement XII, Benedict XIV, and Clement XIII, and was Master of the Mint at Rome from 1734 until his death in 1768. Although Ottone did not come up to his father as an artist, he was an especial favorite of the Old Pretender of England, James (III) Stuart, for whom he struck several medals (an example is provided in this section).
Lavy, Carlo Domenico Lorenzo: The Lavys were a distinguished family of artists, some members of which were connected for a long period of time with the Royal Mint at Turin in the capacity of die engravers. Lorenzo Lavy (1720-1789) was a medallist and mint engraver at Turin during the second half of the eighteenth century. He was the father of Amadeo and Carlo Lavy.
Malavasi, Giuseppe: Malavasi was a sculptor and medallist from Modena who worked in the first half of the nineteenth century.
Ortolani, Giuseppe: Giuseppe Ortolani (ca.1674-1734) was born in Venice, and worked in Rome under three successive Popes, Alexander VIII, Innocent XII, and Clement XI, for whom he not only engraved medals but also coins.
Pieri, Giovan Francesco: Giovan Francesco Pieri (1699-1773) was a Florentine sculptor and medallist of the first half of the eighteenth century. He worked in Florence for Gian Gastone de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and on his death traveled to Naples where he taught in the workshop of Carlo I di Borbone. He later went to Vienna, where he worked for the family of Maria Teresa of Austria. Pieri is particularly noted for his wax reliefs.
Soldani-Benzi, Massimiliano: Soldani-Benzi (1658-1740) was born in Florence to a noble family. He studied in Rome under the painter Ciro Ferri and sculptor Ercole Ferrata. Ferrata introduced him to Queen Christina of Sweden, who abdicated her throne in 1654 and spent much of the rest of her life in Rome. She was so pleased with Soldani’s work that she requested of Cosimo III to allow him to undertake a series of medals for her.
Soldani’s medals are generally large and always cast and well executed. As Soldani was essentially a sculptor, he engaged the engraver Guglielmada to cut dies for the struck medals. Among his pupils were Antonio Selvi, Bartolomeo Vaggelli and the Weber brothers, Johann Zanobius and Lorenzo Maria.
Weber, Giovanni Zanobio: Giovanni Zanobio Weber (c.1737-c.1806) was the brother of the medallist Lorenzo Maria Weber. He worked mostly in Florence, the period of his greatest activity being between 1761 and 1786.