Wood, leather, linen, gesso, silver, polychromy, iron
19 1/4 x 15 1/4 x 4 3/4 in. (49 x 38.5 x 12 cm); Wt. 6 lb. 1 oz. (2737 g)
Gift of Mrs. Florence Blumenthal, 1925
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 373
This unusual sturdy shield is distinctive for its convex profile, the raised ribs on its surface, and its decorative scalloped edges. Recently conserved, the brilliantly colored surface displays two campaigns of painting. The earlier decoration shows a vertically divided design: the dexter (shield’s right) side is painted red with vertically aligned letters AGVF, probably those of the shield’s owner, and the sinister (shield’s left) side has colored stripes. Painted over this design are two small shields with the arms of two Nuremberg patrician families, Ketzel (on a black ground, a silver monkey holding a gold ball) and Koler (on a red ground, a silver ring). These arms refer to Lucas Ketzel and Magdalena Koler, who married in 1467. The arms may have been added to the shield after Lucas’s death in 1485, when the shield would have been hung in a church or chapel as a memorial. Beneath the top two layers of painting is an earlier layer with different designs, evidence that this shield had a long working life.