and Commemorative Medals
Collection of Benjamin Weiss
QUEEN CHRISTINA OF SWEDEN
SOLDANI-BENZI, Massimiliano: Sweden, ca. 1681, Bronze,
Christina (1626-1689) was the daughter of Gustavus II
Adolphus who died in the battle of Lutzen in 1632 when she was only six
years old. She became queen of Sweden on her 18th birthday in 1644 and
reigned as queen until 1654. Intellectually sharp and skilled in politics,
one of her greatest achievements was in the agreement of the
Westphalia in 1648, which ended the Thirty Years' War. Her reign was cut
short by her desire to become a Catholic, and she was forced to abdicate
after only ten years because Catholicism was banned in her own country.
Pope Alexander VII invited her to Rome, where Christina arrived in 1655.
She still behaved as a queen, however, involving herself in attempts to
gain a new kingdom. She 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
The bird of paradise, which is depicted on the reverse of this medal, is closely related to the bowerbird and crow and belongs to the family Paradisaeidae. There are 43 species, 35 of which are confined to New Guinea. There are 3 species in the Moluccas and several species of the less spectacular riflebirds in eastern Australia. Spaniards in the 16th century coined the name bird of paradise when magnificent bird skins were brought to Europe aboard Magellan's ship, Victoria. The scene on the medal perhaps is meant to refer to Christina's devotion to the spiritual world over her place in politics.
LINK to Portrait and Biography of Christina of Sweden (from Wikipedia)