Marzia Banci, Oddantonio da Montefeltro
Brooch, 2023, sterling silver, painted silver, w 6.6 cm × h 11 cm
The brooch is dedicated to Oddantonio da Montefeltro, the first duke of Urbino. The base is square and the Duke's body is asymmetric and juts out of the perimeter.
The image is composed of 3 overlapping layers of different shapes: the bottom one is an engraved silver plate, symbol of a by then useless armour, the middle one contains the Duke's mutilated body and the top layer is the painted portrait of the Duke, his head upside-down because he was beheaded. The head drags the Montefeltro coat of arms along in its fall.
Oddantonio's portrait is upside-down to underline his disreputable leadership of the duchy which lasted from April 1443 to July 1444, when he was killed. His dead body was dumped in the street and desecrated by the population before being buried, as the metal insertions in the brooch suggest.
Marzia Banci, Federico da Montefeltro
Brooch, 2023, sterling silver, 750 gold, painted silver, brilliant-cut black and white diamonds, diamond, fire opal, Ø 7 cm
The circular brooch dedicated to Federico da Montefeltro is made in silver and yellow gold.
In the middle are the duke's eyes, taken from the well-known diptych by Piero della Francesca preserved at the Uffizi Gallery. The small painting on a silver plate is framed by an engraved yellow gold plate representing the duke's military feats and the chain mail usually worn in battle. The gold plate is inserted between two vertical segments in which, on the left, black diamonds are set to identify the da Montefeltro dynasty and, on the right, white diamonds to allude to Federico's foresight during his rule. In the middle of the upper space, between the perimeter of the portrait and the circumference, a diamond homages the duke's intelligence. Symmetrically, in the lower section, a fire opal symbolises his generosity.
Marzia Banci, The Fortresses
Brooches, 2023, sterling silver, agate, rock crystal, brick, w 5.8 cm × h 8.5 cm.
The brooches pay homage to the fortresses that Federico da Montefeltro commissioned the court architect Francesco di Giorgio Martini to build. Brilliant examples of fortified architecture, they witness the Duke's ambition to create a state organisation and image that could withstand the pressure of neighbouring states.
The brooches are silver full reliefs of the fortresses standing on stone fragments: the Mondavio fortress on ancient brick, the Sassocorvaro fortress on agate and the palace of Urbino on ancient brick. Each relief is attached to a rock crystal plate, whose transparency enables 3-D viewing. The fortresses are gems set in the Marche territory.