Bronze art medal titled 'Virgo' from the Twelve Signs of the Zodiac series by Melbourne sculptor Michael Meszaros, 1970. The Virgin (23 August - 21 September) is shown seated on the medal's rim combing her hair, a position that allows her to fit comfortably within the restricted space of the circle. The soft modelling of the figure indicates that this was modelled in Rome, in the more malleable materials supplied at the medal school, and was largely unaltered for the casting in Melbourne.

The Zodiac series was designed by Meszaros for an assignment at La Scuola Dell 'Art Della Medaglia in Rome in 1969. On his return to Melbourne, he revised some of his models. The series was then minted and sold to collectors.

Obverse Description

A crouching naked woman brushing her hair, representing the sign of the zodiac Virgo.The astrological symbol for Virgo and the planetary symbol for Mercury. Around, MESZAROS 1970 [incised family symbol - abstracted unicorn bull looking backwards over its shoulder]

Reverse Description



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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