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Works from Bruno Mantura collection

Tuesday 23 March 2021, 03:00 PM • Rome


Aurelio Mistruzzi

(Villaorba di Basiliano 1880 - Roma 1960)

Model for the commemorative medal of the first broadcast of Vatican Radio, February 12, 1931, 1931


€ 200 - 300


€ 320

The price includes buyer's premium


bas-relief in plaster
diameter 23 cm

signed lower left: MISTRUZZI

Aurelio Mistruzzi, medalist and sculptor, received his artistic training from 1909 at the School of the Art of the Medal opened two years earlier. He was a pupil of Giuseppe Romagnoli, professor and director of the school, and of Luigi Giorgi, chief engraver of the Mint. Mistruzzi soon established himself as an excellent medalist, so much so that in 1918 he designed the commemorative coin of 100 lire, called Vetta d’Italia, minted in 1925 for the 25th year of the reign of Vittorio Emanuele III. In 1920 he made the annual commemorative medal for the sixth year of the pontificate of Benedict XV and became the medalist of the Holy See from that year until 1960. In 1922 he was appointed a member of the Pontifical Academy of Virtuosi of the Pantheon, in 1924 a member of the board of directors of the pontifical central commission for sacred art, and in 1932 an engraver ad perpetuum of the Apostolic See. He designed a large number of annual, jubilee or commemorative medals during the pontificates of Pius XI and Pius XII. This medal was made to celebrate the creation of Vatican Radio, commissioned by Pius XI and under the technical direction of Gugliemo Marconi, after the signing of the Lateran Pacts of 1929 and the establishment of the Vatican City as an independent state. Mistruzzi will draw another medal in 1958, on the occasion of the expansion of the Vatican Radio station of Santa Maria in Galeria, placed on that occasion by Pius XII under the protection of the Archangel Gabriel. A medal to celebrate the creation of Vatican Radio posed a problem of iconography to the artist in charge of drawing it: how to inscribe technological modernity in traditional religious iconography? How to reconcile sacred and science, faith and technology, tradition and modernity? Mistruzzi solved the problem by placing an angel in the center of his composition holding a trumpet in which he blows, a metaphor for the divine voice (Tuba mirum spargens sonum ...), while from the index finger of the right hand lightning comes down, a traditional image of divine power and electricity at the same time. In the background, from a cable stretched between two antennas, sound waves come out. The angel flying over the globe and spreading the message of the Church suggests the idea that modern science is nothing more than the instrument of faith and tradition. The medal was issued on 29 June 1931 by the Royal Italian Mint (diameter 44.2 mm). Three editions were minted, 800 in bronze, 2000 in silver, and an unspecified number in gold of which no specimens are known, probably remained in private collections. On the obverse of the medal, the bust of Pius XI is depicted in profile, turned to the left with a skullcap, mozzetta and stole with the exergue: PIUS • XI • PONTIFEX MAXIMUS • A • X . The signature MISTRUZZI is engraved under the bust of the pope and not on the reverse of the medal, as it appears instead in the present plaster model.

Jean-Louis Provoyeur