Object Record

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Catalog Number 01.C.19
Object Name Medallion
Title Medallion with Portrait of Paolo Frisi
Description Small, neoclassical, bust-length profile portrait relief within an oval medallion. The medallion is made of plaster. The upper surface of the medallion has been polished to imitate marble. The underside of the medallion is rough, somewhat pock-marked, and unfinished. The upper surface of the medallion is marked "PAVL. FRISIVS." beneath the base of the portrait bust in block capitals.
Label Paolo Frisi was an Italian mathematician, astronomer, and physicist born in 1728. Much of his research was on hydraulics, and he also helped interpret and compile the work of other scientists, including Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton. His commentaries on their work helped popularize their ideas to a larger audience. Frisi was elected to a number of European learned societies, and given marks of distinction by several European heads of state. The purpose of this medallion is unclear, as is the origin. It was previously misidentified as a portrait of Thomas Paine. It is possible that it is a Wedgwood medallion that never went into production, or styled after Wedgwood medallions of other scientists. Philosophers were common subjects of portrait medallions in the 18th century, often depicted in the "antique" mode of this image.
Material Plaster
Dimensions H-2.5 W-2.25 D-0.25 inches
Credit line American Philosophical Society
Search Terms sculpture