Antonio Pisanello

By: Caroline Mahoney


Antonio Pisanello was a painter and medalist born in 1395 in Pisa, Italy. He spent the majority of his life in Italy. Pisanello was raised in Verona by his mother Isabetta, after the death of his father, Pucio di Giovanni. He was most likely was a student at Stefano da Verona. From 1419-1422 he spent time in Venice with his patron, Gentile da Fabriano. Pisanello and Gentile da Fabriana collaborated on the frescoes for the Great Council Hall of the Ducal Palace and the Annunciation above the Brenzoni tomb in the church of St. Ferma, Verona. After Gentile died, he went to Rome where he completed some of Gentile's frescoes. He then moved back and forth between Verona and Ferrara where he completed a lot of his works. Lots of his finest works were his medals which he made for the Emperor John VII Palaeologus who attended the Church council in 1439. In 1439, Verona was under Venetian protection and the city was taken over by the Duke of Mantua. After Venice helped Verona recover, Pisanello was part of Mantua's court an he was arrested but he was let of jail and released from Venice in 1442. This was also the time his mother passed away in Verona. After this Pisanello made lots of medals. He made medals for Lionello d'Este and Maria of Aragon's wedding, Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta of Rimini, and King Alfonso III of Aragon. In 1450,Pisanello disappeared. In October 1455, according to a letter written Carlo de' Medici, he died.

Leonello d'Este Medal

In 1444, Pisanello created a medal for the wedding of Leonello d'Este and Maria of Aragon. On the medal is a portrait of Leonello. The medal is a copper color and is made of copper, alloy, and cast. Leonello's full name is on the left side of the medal and other words that I cannot read are written across the top and bottom. Today, you can see this piece in Gallery 605 in the Metropolitan Museum in New York. This piece is significant because it was made for a wedding and it has markings and symbols that can tell you things about Leonello. For example there is a sail that showed an act of Prudence. I think this piece is interesting mainly because it is a medal. it is unlike a painting and is different. It also has a lot of strange markings and symbols on it that stand for things that represent Leonello. Pisanello showed secularism throughout a lot of his work. Secualrism represents non-religious ideas. Portraits are non-religious and Pisanello did a lot, as shown on his medals as well as this one.


New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Renaissance Portrait from Donatello to Bellini," December 21, 2011–March 18, 2012

"Pisanello." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit: Gale, 1998. Biography in Context. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.