Bronze art medal titled 'The Kill' by Melbourne sculptor Michael Meszaros, 1963. This was the first of Meszaros' 'expressive' pieces - medals created purely as artistic works rather than as portraits or commemorative pieces. Inspired by developments in the European art world, which he absorbed through magazines, the 18-year-old Meszaros began experimenting with subject matter from the natural world. It was a radical departure from both the work of his father and the general understanding of the role of medals, and marked a turning point in Meszaros' artistic direction. 'The Kill' exhibits the high modelling of Meszaros' early career, and the articulation of the spider's legs would be further developed in later works in his Zodiac series.

Physical Description

Bronze medal with obverse design of a large spider in a web attacking a small fly.

Obverse Description

A spider and a fly in spider web.Below , THE KILL. At right, Meszaros / [symbol?]/ 1963.

Reverse Description



This is one of 44 art medals in the Museum's collection by Michael Meszaros, dated from 1960 through to 1987, which chart the evolution of a new phase of the medal tradition in Australia. While Australian medals have previously largely been commissioned works associated with official commemorations or major awards, these are personal artworks. In addition to their aesthetic value, they document nearly two decades of Australian life from a personal and popular point of view, drawing on cultural trends, sporting and leisure, and emerging issues such as environmentalism. This is a modern development in Australia, but it harks back to the European tradition, developed in the Renaissance, of medals as artistic works.

For over half a century, sculptors Andor (1900-1973) and Michael (1945- ) Meszaros have created medals that reflect the high points of life in Australia. From major awards and portraits of eminent Australians to artwork celebrating popular culture and the natural world, these objects illuminate our culture and history. Grounded in a centuries-old European art tradition, the medals create connections across disciplines and link such diverse subjects as scientific advances, religious themes, sport, the performing arts and motherhood. Through their public and private commissions and their personal artworks, the Meszaros sculptors have defined the modern Australian medal.

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