Girolamo Campagna, Italian, Door knocker, ca. 1570-1599, Bronze; 39.4 x 29.2 x 12.7 cm (15 1/2 x 11 1/2 x 5 inches), Museum Works of Art Fund 55.091
This domestic door knocker is attributed to Girolamo Campagna, who dominated sculptural production in Venice in the last decades of the sixteenth century. Known more for his monumental bronze sculptures for public spaces and church altars, Campagna’s repertoire also included elaborate household objects such as candlesticks and salt cellars for upper-class clients. This door knocker announced a family’s status before a visitor even entered the house. Its ornamentation probably refers to the family’s coat of arms. The double-headed eagle at top signifies power and was the emblem of the Holy Roman Empire, which controlled parts of Italy in the 1500s. Two fish flank the head of a gorgon (snake-haired woman), a traditional symbol used to ward off evil from a house or temple.