Bronze art medal titled 'Timpani' from the Music series by Melbourne sculptor Michael Meszaros, 1971. 'Timpani' is one of a series of six medals depicting orchestral instruments, five of which are in the Museum's collection. The body of the kettle drum fills most of the design, emphasising both its shape, which is echoed the circle of the medal itself, and the volume it can produce. The musician, on the other hand, is visible only as a pair of hands holding the mallets.

Physical Description

Bronze medal with obverse design of a pair of hands holding mallets on the upper edge. Most of the filed is taken up by the polished curve representing the drum.

Obverse Description

A close-up of a drum's base with a pair of hands holding drumsticks on the upper edge. Around , MICHAEL MESZAROS [incised family symbol - abstracted unicorn bull looking backwards over its shoulder] 1971.

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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