Copy of a medal of Cardinal Pietro Bembo. The original medal, variously attributed, including Valerio Belli and Benvenuto Cellini, was made in about 1540. This Electrotype copy made circa 1881 by Robert Ready. The original medal (possibly BMC Reg: M.144) was exhibited in the King's Library of the British Museum in 1881 and is No. 81 in the catalogue of that exhibition. It is thought that this electrotype was produced in association with that exhibition and publication and acquired by the National Gallery of Victoria where it was displayed in the late 1880s. The original medal is in bronze.

Cardinal Pietro Bembo was an Italian scholar, poet and literary theorist. He was an important figure in the development of the Italian language, His ideas were also significant in the formation of the musical form the madrigal. (see:

The reverse depicts the Hippocrene. In Greek mythology, Hippocrene was the name of a fountain on Mt. Helicon, sacred to the Muses and formed by the hooves of Pegasus.The water was supposed to bring forth poetic inspiration when imbibed (see

Obverse Description

Bust of Pietro Bembo, in cardinal's cape, bare headed faciong right; around PETRI BEMBI CAR.

Reverse Description

Pegasus rearing right wings raised standing in water (a depiction of the formation of the fountain Hippocrene)

Edge Description


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