and Commemorative Medals
Collection of Benjamin Weiss
QUEEN CHRISTINA OF SWEDEN
SOLDANI-BENZI, Massimiliano (?): Sweden, ca.1680, Bronze, 61 mm
Christina (1626–1689), was the daughter of Gustavus Adolphus II and Marie-Eleonore of Brandenburg. She inherited the throne when she was only six years old when her father was killed at Lutzen (1632). (see Dadler Medals). At the age of 18, in 1644 she took the throne, although the coronation was postponed until 1650 because of the war with Denmark. Intellectually sharp and skilled in politics, one of her greatest achievements was in the agreement of the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, which ended the Thirty Years' War. Her reign was cut short because of the increasing discontent with her arbitrary and wasteful ways and by her desire to become a Catholic; she was forced to abdicate in 1654 after only ten years, because Catholicism was banned in her own country. Pope Alexander VII invited her to Rome, where Christina arrived to great fanfare in 1655. She still behaved as a queen, involving herself in attempts to gain a new kingdom.
Christina was a very colorful personality in seventeenth-century Rome, as a patron of the arts (she encouraged the sculptor Bernini and the composer Alessandro Scarlatti) and player on the political stage; she was a close friend of Decio Azzolino, later created cardinal in 1654 by Pope Innocent X.
Christina had a large collection of ancient coins and gems and commissioned a remarkable thirty-seven medals of herself in her lifetime. She intended the Florentine medal maker Massimiliano Soldani (1656-1740) to make over one hundred medals for her, as a 'medallic history' of her life. Despite being scarred by smallpox and having a deformed shoulder, Soldani shows her as a classical beauty, crowned with laurel, like a muse. The reverse of this medal celebrates the great love Christina had for the city of Rome. (from British Museum)
This piece may have been struck, the dies perhaps executed by Guglielmada after the cast medal of Soldani.
LINK to painting Christina, Queen of Sweden by David Beck (from Wikipedia)
LINK to Biography of Queen Christina (from Tracy Marks)