Bowdoin College Museum of Art

Bowdoin College Museum of Art Bowdoin College Museum of Art

Advanced Search



Antonio Lazari


Laura Maria Caterina Bassi (1711–1778), professor of philosophy at the University of Bologna

Creation Date



18th century


2 3/4 in. (7 cm.)

Object Type


Creation Place

Europe, Italian

Medium and Support

gilt, bronze

Credit Line

Gift of Amanda Marchesa Molinari


Public Domain

Accession Number

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.

Keywords: Bologna   related to philosophy   scholar   bust portrait   woman   Portrait   profile   circular   University of Bologna   wreath   text (Latin)   professor   Italy   related to physics   gilded (gold)   laurel  

Additional Images