Thursday, February 24, 2011

Collecting Medallion-Relief Sculptures

We already know that coin sculptors have the extremely difficult task of creating relief sculptures on a very minimized canvas. These types of artists are but an example of who medallist sculptors are and what they do. To carve or cast a medallion, one would need a good sense of dexterity and a specific set of modelling tools, such as magnifying lenses and pin-type shaping instruments. Traditionally, wax or plaster models are used for the original design of cast medallions. Casting serves as the best way to mass-produce medallions to be made into a limited edition work. The usual media you can expect would be bronze, copper, silver, nickel or gold. New media such as palladium are also available as art medallions. Over time, these medallions usually become considered as antiques and are often sold in antique stores and specialty shops rather than art galleries, but their vintage value remains constant at the very least. Some rarer coins and medals can fetch up to thousands of dollars after being appraised by a certified persona or historian.

Jacques Jonghelinck was a Flemish sculptor and medallist from Brussels in the late 1500's. He was one of the more famous artists that created fine and accurate medallion portraits of the important persona at the time. His clients included Antoine Perrenot de Granvelle, president of the council of state at the time.

Jean Auguste Barre was a French medallist who studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and was a well known portrait sculptor as well. He exhibited several medallion pieces at the French Salon from 1831 to 1886 that are now part of priceless collections. Many of his famous patrons included Napoleon III, Queen Victoria, and Susan B. Anthony.


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