Giovanni Bressani

medal with bearded man in profile

Giovanni Bressani, ca. 1561
2 1/16 in. (5.3 cm)
Collection Mario Scaglia
Inscriptions: Obverse, IO. BRESS. BER. POE. ILL. ÆT. ANN. LXX [Giovanni Bressani of Bergamo, illustrious poet, aged seventy], signed APΣEN EΠOIH [Arsenio made it]; reverse, CVIQVE. IVXTA. MERITVM [To each according to merit].
Stefano di Virgilio

This medal appears to be the model for Moroni’s portrait of Giovanni Bressani. The reverse displays a laurel branch (a conventional honor of poets) crossed with a whip or scourge with the motto “To each according to merit,” presumably alluding to the rewards (the laurel branch) earned by work and discipline (the whip). This is one of only two medals signed by the obscure medalist Arsenio; the other portrays Antonio Navagero, who was also painted by Moroni (Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan).
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