Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Cluster Brooch with Letters Spelling "Amor"

mid-15th century
Gold, pearl, emerald, silver pin
Overall: 1 1/8 x 15/16 x 9/16 in. (2.9 x 2.4 x 1.4 cm)
Credit Line:
The Cloisters Collection, 1957
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Cloisters in Gallery 14
This gold cluster jewel includes the Latin word amor (love) in delicate gold letters. It could have been worn either as a pendant or a brooch, and in portraits of young women many similar jewels are seen in their hair or at the shoulder or neck. Expensive jewelry played an important role in betrothal and marriage, and the groom gave brooches to the bride as tokens of love. In 1447, for example, Marco Parenti gave his betrothed, Caterina Strozzi, a golden brooch with two sapphires and three pearls to be worn on her shoulder.
H. Garthe(dates unknown) ; Eugen Felix, Leipzig (sold 1886) ; [his sale, J. M. Heberle, Cologne (October 25-30, 1886, no. 460)] ; said to be in the collection of Dr. Albert Figdor, Vienna (?) ; [ John Hunt, Drumleck Baily, Dublin (sold 1957)]
Kunst-Sammlung des Herrn Eugen Felix. Cologne: J. M. Heberle, October 25–30, 1886. no. 460, p. 89, ill.

Ostoia, Vera K. The Middle Ages: Treasures from the Cloisters and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1969. no. 118, pp. 249, 262.

Husband, Timothy B., and Jane Hayward, ed. The Secular Spirit: Life and Art at the End of the Middle Ages. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1975. no. 96, pp. 85, 89, fig. 4.

Brown, Katharine R. "Six Gothic Brooches at The Cloisters." In The Cloisters: Studies in Honor of the Fiftieth Anniversary, edited by Elizabeth C. Parker. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1992. pp. 408-19, fig. 10a-b.

Bayer, Andrea, ed. Art and Love in Renaissance Italy. New York and New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2008. no. 34, pp. 102-103.

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