Historical and Commemorative Medals
Collection of Benjamin Weiss


SOLDANI-BENZI, Massimiliano: Italy, 1684,  Bronze,  86 mm
Bust of Redi (r)     FRANCISCVS . REDI. PATRITIVS . ARETINVS . (Francesco Redi, Patrician of Arezzo)
Eternity with foot on a globe, welcoming Minerva into the Temple, between whom is a winged ancient with a scythe. Behind, two columns support a lintel on which is a snake biting its tail (a symbol of eternity).   ÆRE. PEREMNIVS.
Exergue: M.S.F. 1685
Signed: M. SOLD 1684
Ref: Vannel and Todari 86/38; Johnson 140, fig. 128; Forrer V, p.568;  Weiss BW727

Francesco Redi (1626-1697) was born in Arezzo, Italy, the son of a renowned physician of the Medici court. In 1647 Redi earned a doctorate in philosophy and medicine from the University of Pisa. Like his father before him, in 1660 Redi was appointed to the Medici court where he was court physician, serving two successive Grand Dukes, Ferdinando II and Cosimo III. He was also their friend and counselor and tutor to the crown prince Ferdinando, the son of Cosimo III.

Redi was a man of many talents. In the scientific field, he studied Zoology, Embryology, Entomology, Microscopy, Anatomy and Physiology. His masterpiece is considered to be the publication, Esperienze Introrno Alla Generazione Degli Insetti , in which he disproved the doctrine of spontaneous generation in insects.

Redi was also a leading literary figure and poet, and from 1665 he occupied the chair of Tuscan language in the Florentine Academy.

Also noteworthy are his published correspondences, which include those to the Italian physician and anatomist Lorenzo Bellini, the poet and mathematician Tomaso Ceva, and the Florentine librarian Antonio Magliabecchi.

This is one of a group of three medals, having a similar obverse, that the grand duke commissioned from Soldani in 1684 and 1685 to celebrate Francesco Redi as poet, philosopher and scientist.