Video encyclopedia



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A plaquette is a small low relief sculpture in bronze or other materials. These were popular in the Italian Renaissance and later. They may be commemorative, but especially in the Renaissance and Mannerist periods were often made for purely decorative purposes, with often crowded scenes from religious, historical or mythological sources. Only one side is decorated, giving the main point of distinction with the artistic medal, where both sides are normally decorated. Most are rectangular or circular, but other shapes are found, as in the example illustrated. Typical sizes range from about two inches up to about seven across a side, or as the diameter, with the smaller end or middle of that range more common. They "typically fit within the hand", as Grove puts it. At the smaller end they overlap with medals, and at the larger they begin to be called plaques.
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  • Usage 

  • Materials and technique 

  • History 

  • Italy 

  • Germany 

  • France and the Netherlands 

  • Later history 

  • Collections