Britain’s Ministry of Culture has imposed a temporary export ban to prevent it from being sold abroad to the locket, where Venus, the Goddess of Love, is depicted in a £17m Roman mythology from the 15th century. “Exports of extraordinarily rare Italian medallion made in Mantua more than 500 years ago have been postponed,” culture minister Caroline Dinenage said in a statement.
The ministry called on British institutions to buy the medallion during this time to ensure that the historical monument remains in the country. Experts said the dark brown medallion was worth £17m.
The medallion’s relief details include Venus, her lover Mars, her husband Vulcan, and her son Cupid. The medallion, which has been very well preserved over the centuries, was produced from bronze and covered with silver and mercury gilding. Culture Secretary Caroline Dinenage said: “This piece is a striking combination of legend and mystery. I hope a buyer can be found in the United Kingdom so that researchers can reveal their secrets and the public can see this stunning design in the exhibition.”
Stuart Lochead, a member of the Committee for the Study of the Export of Objects in The Arts and Cultural Interest (RCEWA), stated that “This seductive gilded and silvered bronze medallion, of an extraordinary size and the highest possible quality, represents the best of the highly sophisticated and intellectual humanist artists and their bosses who were active in Northern Italy from the late 15th century to the early 16th century.” “Still, most of his secrets are still waiting to be revealed. (Medallion) While showing clear links with Mantegna and Donatello, it is hoped that more work will reveal who designed and produced it for whom, and therefore contribute to the progressive knowledge of the period.”