Bronze medal on wooden mount depicting Dante's Divine Comedy, commissioned by the Italian Institute of Culture, Melbourne. Designed by Andor Meszaros and minted by Pinches, London, in 1965.
The medal depicts two tiny figures of Dante and Virgil, his guide through the underworld. Around the edge are three larger-scale human figures. The one at the bottom represents the Inferno, the figure rising on the right represents Purgatory and the winged figure at the top symbolises man's entrance into Paradise. A quotation from the first canto of Dante's Inferno accompanies the figures:
[Thou] Shalt see the ancient spirits disconsolate,
Who cry out each one for the second death;
And thou shalt see those who contented are
Within the fire, because they hope to come,
Whene'er it may be, to the blessed people.
The Italian Institute of Culture is one of 93 Italian government cultural offices throughout the world which operate under the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs (M.A.F.) in Rome. These Institutes are intended to promote cultural relations and develop international links between Italy and other countries. This medal was presented to the State of Victoria to mark the 700 years since Dante's birth.
A rectangular bronze plaque mounted on a wooden base (240 * 300 mm) a angel flying left above two males falling into the Inferno; at left in background two small figures stand on a rock outcrop surrounded by a quote (in Italian) from Dante's work. A second small bronze plaque is attached to the bottom right of the wooden base depicting a left facing profile of a man and recording the The Melbourne Institute of Italian Culture 1965
At top, an angel flying left above two males falling into the Inferno; at left in background two small figures stand on a rock outcrop surrounded by a quote (in Italian) from Dante's work: VEDRAI LI ANTICHI SPIRITI DOLENTI, CHE LA SECONDA MORTE CIASCVN CRIDA EVEDERAI COLOR CHE SON CONTENTI NEL FOCO, PERCHE SPERAN DI VENIRE QUANDO CHASIA ALLE BEATE CENTI. INFERNO, C.I ANDOR MESZAROS A second small bronze plaque is attached to the bottom right of the wooden base depicting a left facing profile of a man and recording INSTITUTO ITALIANO DI CULTURA MELBOURNE 1965.
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.
Transfer from National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), Istituto Italiano di Cultura, 15 Mar 1976
VEDRAI LI ANTICHI SPIRITI DOLENTI, CHE LA SECONDA MORTE CIASCVN CRIDA EVEDERAI COLOR CHE SON CONTENTI NEL FOCO, PERCHE SPERAN DI VENIRE QUANDO CHASIA ALLE BEATE CENTI. INFERNO, C.I ANDOR MESZAROS INSTITUTO ITALIANO DI CULTURA MELBOURNE 1965.
Type of item
240 mm (Width), 305 mm (Height), 180 mm (Outside Diameter)
Diameter of circular medal attached to rectangular base.
240 mm (Width), 20 mm (Depth), 305 mm (Height)
Measurement From Conservation.
[Catalogue] Sharples, John P. 1990. Medals as Art: Australia and the Meszaros Tradition.
[Article] Jewell, Raymond T. 1986. Michael Meszaros: The Man and his Medals. Journal of the Numismatic Association of Australia. 2: 4-24.