Burgonet with Falling Buffe

Date: ca. 1550

Culture: French

Medium: Steel, gold

Dimensions: H. 14 in. (35.6 cm); W. 8 1/4 in. (21 cm); D. 14 1/4 in. (36.2 cm); Wt. 5 lb. 5 oz. (2404 g)

Classification: Helmets

Credit Line: burgonet: Rogers Fund, 1904; buffe: Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1922

Accession Number: 04.3.217; 22.140


The medallions on either side of the helmet bowl are embossed with scenes of battle between the Lapiths and the Centaurs. The compositions derive in part from designs by Rosso Fiorentino (1494–1540), one of the Italian artists called to Fontainebleau to work for the French court. Probably made for Henry II of France (reigned 1547–59), the helmet passed as a diplomatic gift to the Medici court in Florence later in the sixteenth century. It is illustrated in a portrait of Cosimo II de' Medici (1590–1621), grand duke of Tuscany, in the Metropolitan Museum's collection (acc. no. 22.150).