Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Cuirass and Tassets (Torso and Hip Defense)

Armorer:
Attributed to Kolman Helmschmid (German, Augsburg 1471–1532)
Decorator:
Etching attributed to Daniel Hopfer (German, Kaufbeuren 1471–1536 Augsburg)
Date:
ca. 1510–20
Geography:
Augsburg
Culture:
German, Augsburg
Medium:
Steel, leather
Dimensions:
H. 41 1/2 in. (105.4 cm); Wt. 19 lb. 8 oz. (8845 g)
Classification:
Armor
Credit Line:
Gift of Marshall Field, 1938
Accession Number:
38.143b–d
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 373
The decoration of this armor is an outstanding example of German figural etching, inspired by contemporary print sources, as it was used to embellish armor. The etching has been attributed to Daniel Hopfer, a noted printmaker and armor etcher. Hopfer may have pioneered the technique of making prints from an etched metal plate, which revolutionized printmaking in the sixteenth century.
The figures on the breastplate depict major Christian saints and include the Virgin and Child flanked by Saint George and Saint Christopher. On the backplate, Saint Anne with the Virgin and Child is flanked by Saint James the Great and Saint Sebastian. The figure of Saint Sebastian pierced by arrows is copied from a woodcut made about 1507 by Hans Baldung Grien (1484 or 1485–1544).
Ex coll.: (a) helmet - Dr. William Meyrick: Henry Arthur Brassey, Preston Hall, Kent; Leonard Brassey, Apethorpe Hall, Peterborough; William Randolph Hearst (b-d) colletin, breastplate and backplate - Robert Curzon, 14th Baron Zouche of Harringworth; Baroness Zouche of haryngworth; William Randolph Hearst.
New York. Brooklyn Museum. "Loan Exhibition of European Arms and Armor," June 12–October 1, 1933.

Los Angeles. Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "Loan Exhibition of Mediaeval and Renaissance Arms and Armor from the Metropolitan Museum of Art," January 15–March 18, 1953.

San Francisco. California Palace of the Legion of Honor, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. "Loan Exhibition of Mediaeval and Renaissance Arms and Armor from the Metropolitan Museum of Art," April 18–June 7, 1953.

Pittsburgh. Department of Fine Arts, Carnegie Institute. "Loan Exhibition of Mediaeval and Renaissance Arms and Armor from the Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 1953–April 1954.

National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. "Imperial Augsburg: Renaissance Prints and Drawings, 1475–1540," September 30–December 31, 2012.

Austin. Blanton Museum of Art. "Imperial Augsburg: Renaissance Prints and Drawings, 1475–1540," October 5, 2013—January 5, 2014.

Poughkeepsie. Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College. "Imperial Augsburg: Renaissance Prints and Drawings, 1475–1540," September 19—December 14, 2014.

Meyrick, Samuel R., and Joseph Skelton. Engraved Illustrations of Antient Arms and Armour, from the Collection of Llewelyn Meyrick...at Goodrich Court, Herefordshire. Vol. 2. London: J. Skelton, 1830. Cf. etched sword balde in the Meyrick collection. This shows similar decorative motifs, the Virgin, and three of the same saints.

An Illustrated Catalogue of Weapons and Detached Specimens of Armour, from the Collection of William Meyrick, Esq.. London, 1860. pls. 11–13.

Dean, Bashford. Notes on Arms and Armor. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1916.

Meyrick Arms and Armour Being the Collection Formed About the Middle of the 19th Century by the Late Dr. William Meyrick. London: Christie, Manson & Woods, February 21, 1922. no. 160.

Mann, James G. "The Etched Decoration of Armour: A Study in Classification." Proceedings of the British Academy 27 (1940).

Nickel, Helmut. Ullstein-Waffenbuch: Eine Kulturhistorische Waffenkunde Mit Markenverzeichnis. Berlin: Ullstein, 1974. p. 122, ill.

Krause, Stefan. "Der Augusburger Druckgraphiker Daniel Hopfer (1471–1536) als Waffendekorateur." Jahrbuch des Kunsthistorischen Museums Wien 15–16 (2013). note 85.



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