Laura Maria Caterina Bassi (1711–1778), professor of philosophy at the University of Bologna
2 3/4 in. (7 cm.)
Medium and Support
Gift of Amanda Marchesa Molinari
The portrait medal of Laura Maria Caterina Bassi is a celebratory symbol of her achievement as the first female professor at the University of Bologna, the oldest university in the western hemisphere. The portrait of Bassi, designed by Antonio Lazari, was probably worn or displayed by people associated with the University. The inclusion of Minerva and the allegory of Philosophy on the reverse not only alludes to Laura Bassi’s defended thesis in philosophy but also assigns the qualities of both figures to her character.
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