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Medal - 'Twelve Signs of the Zodiac - Sagittarius', Michael Meszaros, Victoria, Australia, 1970 Numismatics Reg. No: NU 48485

Bronze art medal titled 'Sagittarius' from the Twelve Signs of the Zodiac series by Melbourne sculptor Michael Meszaros, 1970. The Archer (23 November - 21 December) was perhaps the most challenging of the zodiac symbols to fit into the confines of a circle. Meszaros solved the problem by positioning the centaur looking back over his spine to aim his bow. The tail is is shown in a style found on ancient coins.

The Zodiac series was designed by Meszaros for an assignment at La Scuola Dell 'Art Della Medaglia in Rome in 1969. On his return to Melbourne, he revised some of his models. The series was then minted and sold to collectors.
Statement Of Significance:
This is one of 44 art medals in the Museum's collection by Michael Meszaros, dated from 1960 through to 1987, which chart the evolution of a new phase of the medal tradition in Australia. While Australian medals have previously largely been commissioned works associated with official commemorations or major awards, these are personal artworks. In addition to their aesthetic value, they document nearly two decades of Australian life from a personal and popular point of view, drawing on cultural trends, sporting and leisure, and emerging issues such as environmentalism. This is a modern development in Australia, but it harks back to the European tradition, developed in the Renaissance, of medals as artistic works.

For over half a century, sculptors Andor (1900-1973) and Michael (1945- ) Meszaros have created medals that reflect the high points of life in Australia. From major awards and portraits of eminent Australians to artwork celebrating popular culture and the natural world, these objects illuminate our culture and history. Grounded in a centuries-old European art tradition, the medals create connections across disciplines and link such diverse subjects as scientific advances, religious themes, sport, the performing arts and motherhood. Through their public and private commissions and their personal artworks, the Meszaros sculptors have defined the modern Australian medal.
Acquisition Information:
Cultural Gifts Donation from Jennifer Shaw, 2011
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program by Jennifer M. Shaw
Discipline: Numismatics
Dimensions: 12 mm (Height), 103 mm (Diameter)

More information

Tagged with: art, symbols, art medals, artistic practices, sculpture, archery, zodiac, centaurs
Themes this item is part of: Michael Meszaros, Sculptor & Medal Artist (1945-), Andor Mészáros, Medal Artist (1900-1972), Arms Collection, Numismatics & Philately Collection, Zodiac Series, Art Medals by Michael Meszaros, Kew, Victoria, 1970, Meszaros Medals Collection
Primary Classification: MEDALS
Secondary Classification: Art
Tertiary Classification: astrology
DateEra: 1970 AD
Obverse Description: A centaur drawing a bow and arrow, representing the sign of the zodiac Sagittarius the archer. The astrological symbol for Sagittarius and the planetary symbol for Saturn. Around, MICHAEL MESZAROS 1970 [incised family symbol - abstracted unicorn bull looking backwards over its shoulder]
Reverse Description: Plain
Shape: round
Material: Bronze
Artist: Michael Meszaros, Kew, Victoria, Australia, 1970

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