This piece is the central decoration of a shield or the foot of a tazza, in the shape of a circular shield decorated with a continuous all’antica battle scene. Such imagery was particularly popular in sixteenth-century Southern Germany, as demonstrated by the prints of Hans Sebald Beham, Barthel Beham, and Jost Amman.(1) The high quality of this composition, with a remarkable variety of poses, suggests that the modeler was inspired by a detailed design (drawing or print) or by a larger model, possibly a shield. These scenes were often used to decorate dagger sheaths, helmets, gorgets, shields, and other forms of arms and armor.(2) The Lehman object is an old aftercast, possibly dating from the late sixteenth or seventeenth century.
Catalogue entry from: Frits Scholten. The Robert Lehman Collection. European Sculpture and Metalwork, Vol. XII. Frits Scholten, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art in association with Princeton University Press, 2011, p. 184.
1. See Bartsch, Adam von. Early German Masters: Barthel Beham, Hans Sebald Beham. Edited by Robert A. Koch. Illustrated Bartsch 15. [Le peintre graveur, vol. 8, pt. 2.] New York, 1978, p. 16, nos. 16 – 18, p. 62, no. 68, p. 63, nos. 69, 70.
2. See Mann, James Gow. European Arms and Armour. Vol. 1, Armour. Wallace Collection Catalogues. London, 1962, nos. A239, A321; Weber, Ingrid. Deutsche, niederländische und französische Renaissanceplaketten, 1500-1650: Modelle für Reliefs an Kult-, Prunk- und Gebrauchsgegenständen. 2 vols. Munich, 1975, nos. 301, 484, 555, 644; Gamber, Ortwin and Christian Beaufort. Katalog der Leibrüstkammer, II. Teil, der Zeitraum von 1530-1560. Führer durch das Kunsthistorische Museum 39. Vienna and Busto Arsizio, 1990, no. 106.