Medal of Emperor Rudolf II

Unknownabout 1600

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

Since antiquity, rulers have minted coins and medals to celebrate their power and dominion. On this gold medal from about 1600, the Habsburg Emperor Rudolf II wears a laurel wreath, a sign of victory and peace, and the chain and pendant of the Order of the Golden Fleece. The Latin inscription on the front, RUDOLPHUS II ROM IMP AUG REX HUNG BOE , declares Rudolf the Supreme Emperor of the Romans, King of Hungary and Bohemia. On the reverse, a ram, zodiac sign of the constellation Capricorn, refers to Augustus Caesar, who was conceived under this sign, suggesting an analogy between Rudolf and Caesar. The Latin inscription, ASTRUM FULGET CAES (The Emperor's Star Shines Brightly), along with the symbols of the twinkling star, the earth, and the Habsburg eagle, suggest Rudolf's supremacy and the prosperous future of the Habsburg dynasty. The emperor's elegant three-quarter pose and the subtle differentiation of textures on the medal demonstrate the high quality of the casting. The hair is suggested by blunt troughs and lines, the emperor's ruffle has the illusion of depth, and the skin is polished smooth, while the drapery's thick folds effectively suggest heavy fabric.

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  • Title: Medal of Emperor Rudolf II
  • Date Created: about 1600
  • Location Created: Prague, Czech Republic
  • Physical Dimensions: w3.3 x h4.6 cm
  • Type: Coin
  • Rights: http://www.getty.edu/legal/copyright.html
  • External Link: http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/artObjectDetails?artobj=1449
  • Medium: Gold
  • artist: Unknown
  • Terms of Use: http://www.getty.edu/legal/copyright.html
  • Subject: Rudolf II
  • Object Creditline: Gift of Cyril Humphris