Orsolini's medal

The commemorative medal that is delivered to the families of the students who fell at the front along with the Book on November 25, 1923 is commissioned to Gaetano Orsolini himself, the previously mentioned author of the bronze Doorway of Palazzo del Bo.

It is the Municipality of Padua that finances the making of the medal, through the Comitato per le onoranze and its chairman Raffaele Cantoni, whose name appears on the receipt of payment to Orsolini here shown: 

Ricevuta del pagamento per la medaglia a G. Orsolini, AGCPd

The role played by the Municipality can be guessed thanks to the coat of arms coined on the back of the work, next to the allegorical figures of Law and Homeland, which supports him as he traces the names of deceased students in the book of History.

The Law, in particular, seems to refer to the same personification molded into the bronze of the doorway, reinforcing its reminder of the ancient in its hairstyle and near-nakedness. The pose itself suffers from a contrived icasticity, crystallizing the scene into a timeless dimension.

Dettaglio del Portone (Turola)Verso della medaglia, CSUP

The link is further reaffirmed on the opposite side of the medal, where the now iconic image of the Doorway stands out, with the Minerva jutting out and two pairs of columns on either side. Adorning the top of the monument is the inscription

The Municipality of Padua to the families of students who have gloriously fallen for the Homeland.

a sort of second signature of the Municipality that is engraved on the surface of the object, without obscuring, however, the strong symbolic meaning and commemorative will of the Athenaeum that permeate its every detail. Suggestive appear the flying female figures holding up the inscription, similar to the ancestral depictions and spirit wreaths evoked by Rector Ferdinando Lori at his inaugural speech for the 1918-1919 academic year, when he honored deceased students.

Recto della medaglia, CSUP

The heirloom, of which the Centro per la storia dell’Università di Padova preserves a specimen, constitutes a visual synthesis of the dialogue put in place between the city community and the University community, and is well suited to represent, in the form of a logo, the path of this exhibition.

Medaglia commemorativa (recto), CSUPMedaglia commemorativa (verso), CSUP