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Armor for Man and Horse

Wolfgang Grosschedel (German, Landshut, active ca. 1517–62)

Date:
man's armor, ca. 1535–40; horse armor, dated 1554
Geography:
Landshut
Culture:
German, Landshut
Medium:
Etched steel; leather, copper alloy, textile
Dimensions:
Wt., of man's armor, approx. 55 lb. 11 oz. (25.25 kg); Wt. of horse armor with saddle, 65 lb. 7 oz. (29.69 kg)
Classification:
Armor for Horse and Man
Credit Line:
Fletcher Fund, 1923
Accession Number:
23.261
  • Description

    Wolfgang Grosschedel was the most famous Landshut armorer of his generation. Included among his patrons were the Holy Roman Emperor and Philip II of Spain. These armors for man and horse constitute superb examples of Grosschedel's work from different periods in his career.

    The man's armor, dating from about 1535–40, is stamped with Grosschedel's personal mark and that of Landshut. The etched decoration includes human figures and ornaments copied from engravings by the German printmaker Barthel Beham (1502–1540). The armor is part of a garniture that originally included exchange elements for use in battle and in the tourney, a mock combat fought with lances and swords.

    The horse armor, dated 1554, is complete and homogeneous and, though unmarked, can be attributed to Grosschedel on stylistic grounds. The escutcheon on the shaffron (defense for the horse's head) bears the arms of a member of the Bavarian family Freiberg von Aschau, possibly Pankraz von Freiberg (1508–1565). The armors for both man and horse were preserved together in the armory of Hohenaschau Castle, the historical seat of the Freibergs, until the mid-nineteenth century.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Inscribed on the shaffron, rein plate and crupper: 1554.

    Marking: Stamped on the breastplate: W (Grosschedel's personal mark), and the mark of the city of Landshut (a small helmet).

  • Provenance

    Ex. coll.: Count Festetics, Vienna.

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
22874:1

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