You can click on the medals to see the reverse.
The obverse bears Michelangelo holding hammer and chisel in center field. Around, HUDSON VALLEY / ART ASSOCIATION.
The reverse bears Winged Victory of Samothrace. Above, MEDAL OF HONOR; signed at feet of statue, P. MONTANA - 1943
The edge is marked MEDALLIC ART CO. DANBURY, CT. - BRONZE
The Hudson Valley Art Association traces its roots back to 1928 even though it was officially incorporated in 1934 to promote the sale of work by the membership. By 1954, an amendment changed the purpose of HVAA to a commitment to charitable and educational functions, including art exhibitions free of charge to the public, with demonstrations by leading artists. Commissions on sales were used to fund art scholarships.
Pietro Montana chose a master of sculpture for the obverse and a masterpiece of sculpture for the reverse. This medal's imagery certainly provided both reward and incentive to the recipients.
The depicted medal is obviously a restrike or reuse of an earlier design because in 1943 the Medallic Art Company was still located in New York.
The medal measures 57mm in diameter and were manufactured by the Medallic Art Company of Danbury, Connecticut.
This medal was chosen as the 55th issue of the prestigious Society of Medalists series in 1957.
The obverse bears St. Francis and some of his friars in prayer. Around, BLESSED ARE THEY WHO HUNGER AND THIRST AFTER HOLINESS; in exergue below, © PIETRO MONTANA; below, Sacred Heart.
The reverse bears St. Francis embracing knelling leper. Around, (branch) WHERE THERE IS DESPAIR (dragon) LET ME BRING HOPE (dove); below, (PM monogram).
This medal was actually slightly revised from the design sketches that Montana had submitted three years earlier, in 1954. In his "Message from the Artist" Montana wrote:
"It has been said that of all the saints throughout the ages, St. Francis of Assisi has been the one most widely known and most loved by people of all faiths and creeds. He came into the world at a time when tre charity, love of God, and obedience to His will wer eat a low ebb. St. Francis, by his way of life, brought many of his contemporaries back to God and set an example that still influences the souls of men."
This medal measures 73mm in diameter and was struck by the Medallic Art Company of New York. The reported production quantity of this medal is 658 in bronze and an unknown quantity in silver.
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