Horse Armor Made for a Member of the Collalto Family
ca. 1560 and later
Italian, probably Milan
Steel, gold, leather
Horse armor with saddle: Wt., 87 lb. 14 oz. (39.85 kg); horse armor: Wt., 65 lb. 1 oz. (29.5 kg)
Armor for Horse
Fletcher Fund, 1921
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 371
This horse armor, dating from about 1560, is one of the few complete examples of its period to be preserved. It comes from the armory of the counts Collalto at the castle of San Salvatore, near Treviso, where it was presumably kept from the late sixteenth until the early twentieth century. The bands of etched ornament include classically inspired trophies of arms and armor and musical instruments. These were standard decorative motifs on Italian armor of the period, but here, they are depicted with much more precision, on a larger scale, and in far greater detail and variety than usual. The high quality of the horse armor and its elaborate decoration indicate that it must have belonged to a leading member of the Collalto family, perhaps Collatino Collalto (1523–1569), who was famous both as a soldier and as a man of letters.
The associated man's armor also in the Metropolitan Museum's collection (acc. no. 14.25.717a–r), dating from about 1575, is part of a small garniture that included exchange elements for the battlefield and reinforcing pieces for the tournament. The breastplate is a restoration.
Ex. coll.: Castle of the Counts of Collalto in Treviso, Italy; S. Wendlinger, Austria.
Nickel, Helmut. Ullstein-Waffenbuch: Eine Kulturhistorische Waffenkunde mit Markenverzeichnis. Berlin: Ullstein, 1974. p. 127, ill.