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In the 1920s the Metropolitan began to explore filmmaking as part of its educational program, and in 1924 it released two films about arms and armor. In preparation for this new undertaking, Bashford Dean, the head of the Arms and Armor department, sought the advice of Hollywood professionals D. W. Griffith and John Barrymore. Once the scripts were complete, Dean left most of the actual work to his young assistant curators, Stephen V. Grancsay and Thomas T. Hoopes, who also appear in the films. A Visit to the Armor Galleries was especially popular and includes memorable scenes: a Gothic armor steps out of its vitrine to answer visitors' questions about the collection, a seesaw with a small child on one end and a medieval mail shirt on the other demonstrates the relatively modest weight of armor, and a fully armored knight on horseback gallops through Central Park, with Belvedere Castle (the park's weather station) rising picturesquely in the background. When actor Douglas Fairbanks Sr. viewed the film at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, he pronounced it "bully."
Dressing in Steel: Part One
(00:37:39) 858 views
Dressing in Steel: Part Two
(00:20:04) 379 views
A Visit to the Armor Galleries
(00:30:21) 4855 views
Bashford Dean and the Creation of the Arms and Armor Department, 1904–1929
(00:30:12) 247 views
The Art of Arms and Armor: Challenges of Research, Display, and Education
(00:33:09) 330 views
Curators, Collectors, and Dealers: The Growth of the Arms and Armor Collection, 1929 to the Present
(00:36:37) 222 views
Pair of Wheellock Pistols
Flintlock fowling piece
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This artwork is currently on display in Gallery 375
This fowling piece is one of the earliest firearms equiped with the flintlock of French construction. It was made for Louis XIII (reigned 1610–43) in the workshop directed by Pierre Le Bourgeois' brother, Marin (about 1550–1634), to whom the invention of the flintlock mechanism is traditionally ascribed. The decoration of the gun includes the crowned monogram of the king. The scroll-shaped end of the gunstock is an unusual and especially graceful feature of this gun's design.
Marking: Mark stamped on top of barrel near breech, a crossbow between letters PB, is attributed to Pierre le Bourgeois of Lisieux (d. 1627), brother of Marin (d. 1634) and Jean (d. 1615) le Bourgeois, both also arquebusiers in Lisieux.
Ex. coll.: Cabinet d'Armes of Louis XIII; Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia; William G. Renwick.Previously owned by Cabinet d'Armes of Louis XIII ; Previously owned by Hermitage Museum, Leningrad (?) ; Previously owned by William G. Renwick
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