Brooch

Italian
about 1858
Castellani (Italian, 1814-1930)


Dimensions

Diameter x depth: 5 x 0.6 cm (1 15/16 x 1/4 in.)

Accession Number

01.6505

Medium or Technique

Gold

On View

Rita J. and Stanley H. Kaplan Family Foundation Gallery (Gallery 104)

Collections

Europe, Jewelry

Classifications

Brooches

Circular brooch, with seven discs and bosses, six lobes of granulated gold with bordered bead work.


When the Etruscan Regolini-Galassi tomb (named for its excavators) in Cerveteri, Italy, was excavated in 1836, the papal government invited noted jeweler Fortunato Pio Castellani and his thirteen-year-old son, Alessandro, to examine, and later restore, the extraordinary gold adornments found in the burial. Young Alessandro was particularly fascinated by the golden granulation on several ornaments. After many years of experimentation, he eventually mastered the art of embellishing gold sheet with minute gold balls based on the Etruscan examples, making the technique a hallmark of the Castellani firm.1 This circular, lobed brooch decorated with thousands of such spheres represents one of Castellani’s hand-fabricated designs.
Yvonne J. Markowitz, “Brooch” in Artful Adornments: Jewelry from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston by Yvonne J. Markowitz (Boston: MFA Publications, 2011), 82.

Inscription

Soldered interlaced C monogram within a lozenge on reverse.

Markings

Soldered interlaced C monogram within a lozenge on reverse.

Provenance

1901, Mrs. Arthur Croft (née C. A. Brewer), Boston; 1901, bequest of Mrs. Arthur Croft to the MFA. (Accession Date: July 1, 1901)

Credit Line

Bequest of Mrs. Arthur Croft—The Gardner Brewer Collection