Backplate of an Armor for Vincenzo Luigi di Capua (d. 1627)
Pompeo della Cesa (Italian, Milan, ca. 1537–1610)
Steel, gold, leather, copper alloy
H. approx. 15 in. (38 cm); W. approx. 11 in. (28 cm)
Purchase, Gift in honor of Maximilian and Alexander Saga, 2013
Not on view
This backplate is part of a light-cavalry or infantry armor made for the Neapolitan nobleman Vincenzo Luigi di Capua (d. 1627), count of Altavilla and prince of Riccia. The related breastplate, also in the Metropolitan Museum's collection (acc. no. 2001.72), bears his personal impresa (emblem), a sunburst above the motto Nulla Quies Alibi (No Repose But Here).
Pompeo della Cesa, whose etched signature “Pompeo” is found near the top of the breastplate in the center, was the foremost Milanese armorer of the late sixteenth century. His patrons included Philip II of Spain, who also ruled as duke of Milan; Alessandro Farnese, duke of Parma; and Emanuele Filiberto, duke of Savoy. Pompeo probably headed a large workshop and also acted as a contractor in cooperation with other shops to fill particularly large commissions. The decoration includes bands of trophies alternating with bands of allegorical and Biblical figures, one of several distinct decorative styles employed in Pompeo’s workshop.
Vincenzo Luigi di Capua, Prince of Riccia and Count of Altavilla, Italian (until d. 1627); George Greville, 2nd Earl of Warwick, England (until d. 1816); by descent to Warwick Castle armory, Warwick, England (1816–1978; Warwick Castle sold to the Tussauds Group); The Tussauds Group, England (1978–2007; Tussauds Group merged with Merlin Entertainments); Merlin Entertainments PLC, England (2007; Warwick Castle sold to Prestbury Investments); Prestbury Investments LLP, England (2007–13; sold to an agent for MMA).