Summary

Bronze art medal titled 'Tree I' by Melbourne sculptor Michael Meszaros, 1977. The tree's trunk and branches are reproduced in mirror image to form the root system, illustrating that what is visible in the world reflects and is balanced by what is hidden. Meszaros used the same plaster model, in reverse, to depict both halves of the tree.

Physical Description

Bronze medal with image of a leafless tree in relief; the same pattern in negative relief forms the root system.

Obverse Description

A stylised tree above ground level, and roots below, the mirror image incised. Left centre at ground level, MICHAEL MESZAROS 1977 [intials]

Reverse Description

Plain

Significance

This is one of 44 art medals in the Museum's collection by Michael Meszaros, dated from 1960 through to 1987, which chart the evolution of a new phase of the medal tradition in Australia. While Australian medals have previously largely been commissioned works associated with official commemorations or major awards, these are personal artworks. In addition to their aesthetic value, they document nearly two decades of Australian life from a personal and popular point of view, drawing on cultural trends, sporting and leisure, and emerging issues such as environmentalism. This is a modern development in Australia, but it harks back to the European tradition, developed in the Renaissance, of medals as artistic works.

For over half a century, sculptors Andor (1900-1973) and Michael (1945- ) Meszaros have created medals that reflect the high points of life in Australia. From major awards and portraits of eminent Australians to artwork celebrating popular culture and the natural world, these objects illuminate our culture and history. Grounded in a centuries-old European art tradition, the medals create connections across disciplines and link such diverse subjects as scientific advances, religious themes, sport, the performing arts and motherhood. Through their public and private commissions and their personal artworks, the Meszaros sculptors have defined the modern Australian medal.

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