The medal of the Swedish Academy represents a young man sitting under a laurel tree who, enchanted, listens to and writes down the song of the Muse.
The inscription reads:
Inventas vitam juvat excoluisse per artes
loosely translated "And they who bettered life on earth by their newly found mastery." (Word for word: Inventions enhance life which is beautified through art.)
The words are taken from Vergilius Aeneid, the 6th song, verse 663;
Lo, God-loved poets, men who spake things worthy Phoebus' heart;
and they who bettered life on earth by new-found mastery
The name of the Leaureate is engraved on the plate below the figures, and the text "ACAD. SUEC." stands for the the Swedish Academy.
The Nobel Prize Medal for Literature was designed by Erik Lindberg.
More on the Nobel Medals and the Medal for the Prize in Economic Sciences:
Copyright © The Nobel Foundation 2006