Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Horse Armor Probably Made for Count Antonio IV Collalto (1548–1620)

ca. 1580–90 and later
probably Brescia
Italian, probably Brescia
Steel, leather, copper alloy, textile
as mounted, H. 75 1/2 in. (191.8 cm); L. 90 in. (228.6 cm); W. 30 in. (76.2 cm); Wt. including saddle 93 lb. 1 oz. (42.2 kg)
Armor for Horse
Credit Line:
Fletcher Fund, 1921
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 371
The horse armor is covered with etched ornament that includes undulating foliage, mythological creatures, winged putti, and heroes from Biblical and Classical history, such as David and Goliath and Marcus Curtius. The exuberant sketchlike quality of the etching and the preference for overall decoration suggest an origin in Brescia, the second most important armor-producing center in northern Italy after Milan. Brescia was the principal supplier of arms to the Venetian Republic. Like another Italian horse armor in the Metropolitan Museum's collection (acc. no. 21.139.2), this example comes from the armory of the counts Collalto at the castle of San Salvatore, near Treviso. It is one of the few complete horse armors to survive from the late sixteenth century, when heavily armored cavalry played a diminishing role in warfare. It was probably made for Count Antonio IV Collalto (1548–1620), possibly in 1589, when he was appointed commander of the Venentian army.

The associated man's armor (acc. no. 14.24.709a–p) is a composite of old and new pieces. Genuine elements from an Italian garniture of about 1570 are combined with restored pieces that were made as substitutions for the missing original parts.
Ex. coll.: Castle of the Counts of Collalto in Treviso, Italy; S. Wendlinger, Austria.
Dean, Bashford, and Robert T. Nichol. Handbook of Arms and Armor, European and Oriental, edited by Stephen V. Grancsay. 4th ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, October 1930. pp. 198–199, fig. 126.

Pyhrr, Stuart W., Donald J. La Rocca, and Dirk H. Breiding. The Armored Horse in Europe, 1480–1620. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005. p. 27, figs. 25, 26, ill.

Fallows, Noel. Jousting in Medieval and Renaissance Iberia. Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2010. pp. 243, 245, figs. 146, 147.

Pyhrr, Stuart W. "Of Arms and Men: Arms and Armor at the Metropolitan, 1912–2012." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 70, no. 1 (Summer 2012). p. 5, 22, ill.

Related Objects

Cantle Plate (Rear Saddle Plate) From a Horse Armor Probably Made for Count Antonio IV Collalto (1548–1620)

Date: ca. 1580–90 Medium: Steel Accession: 21.139.12 On view in:Gallery 371

Armor for Man and Horse

Date: man's armor, ca. 1570 and later; horse armor, ca. 1580–90 and later Medium: Steel, leather, copper alloy, textile Accession: 14.25.709a–p; 21.139.1a–x,.8,.12; 1984.356 On view in:Gallery 371

Curb Bit

Date: ca. 1550-1560 and probably 19th century Medium: Iron, gold, tin Accession: 21.139.8 On view in:Gallery 371

Elements of a Light-Cavalry Armor

Date: ca. 1510 Medium: Steel, gold, copper alloy Accession: 14.25.716b–f On view in:Gallery 373

Field Armor of King Henry VIII of England (reigned 1509–47)

Date: ca. 1544 Medium: Steel, gold, textile, leather Accession: 32.130.7a–l On view in:Gallery 371