One of a pair of earrings

19th century
about 1870–80
Formerly attributed to Castellani (Italian, 1814-1930), Attributed to Giacinto Melillo (Italian, 1845–1915)


Height x width x depth: 2.7 x 2.7 x 1.1 cm (1 1/16 x 1 1/16 x 7/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


On View

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


Europe, Jewelry


Earrings, flares, plugs, studs

Winged cherubs riding on doves.

These finely crafted repoussé ornaments in the archaeological revival style feature amorini (cupids) subduing Venus’s doves with silken cords. Their maker, probably the master goldsmith Giacinto Melillo, most likely drew inspiration for the subject from the collection of antiquities owned by the Campana family of Rome. Giovanni Pietro Campana was an archaeologist who added many excavated works from his expeditions in Etruria to his father and grandfather’s collection of ancient Etruscan, Greek, and Roman jewelry. Like other nineteenth-century jewelers, Melillo shared the Campanas’ interest in the classical subjects and forms depicted by such artifacts from the Mediterranean world.
Yvonne J. Markowitz, “Pair of Earrings” in Artful Adornments: Jewelry from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston by Yvonne J. Markowitz (Boston: MFA Publications, 2011), 114.


By 1930, Edward Jackson Holmes (b. 1846 - d. 1871), Boston; 1941, gift of Edward Jacson Holmes to the MFA. (Accession Date: December 11, 1941)

Credit Line

Gift of Edward Jackson Holmes