Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Close Helmet of Claude Gouffier (1501–1570)

ca. 1555–60
Steel, gold, brass
H. 15 3/4 in. (40 cm); W. 8 1/4 in. (21 cm); D. 14 1/2 in. (36.8 cm); Wt. 6 lb. 5 oz. (2863 g)
Credit Line:
Gift of William H. Riggs, 1913
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 374
This is an excellent example of a French heavy cavalry helmet of the mid-sixteenth century. Its elaborate decoration includes the monogram of Claude Gouffier (1501–1570), Master of the Horse (Grand Écuyer) for Henry II and Charles IX. This monogram is also on a knee piece from the armor of Gouffier's in the Metropolitan Museum's collection (acc. no. 1994.390).
Inscription: Inscribed around the ocularium and gorget: SPES MEA DAT VIRES NON TIMEBO QUONIAM (because hope gives me strength I do not fear).
William H. Riggs, Paris (until 1913; his gift to MMA).
Paris. Palais du Trocadéro. "Exposition Universelle de 1878: L'Exposition Historique du Trocadéro," May 1–October 31, 1878.

Louisville. J. B. Speed Art Museum. "European Arms and Armor, loan exhibition from MMA and others," November 15, 1952–December 28, 1952.

Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. "The Triumph of Humanism: A Visual Survey of the Decorative Arts of the Renaissance," October 22, 1977–January 8, 1978.

San Francisco. de Young Museum, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. "The Triumph of Humanism," October 22, 1977–January 8, 1978.

Ecouen, France. Musée National de la Renaissance. "Les Trésors du Grand Ecuyer; Claude Gouffier, collectionneur et mécène a la Renaissance," November 16, 1994–February 27, 1995.

Thoumas, Charles-Antoine. Exposition Rétrospective Militaire du Ministère de la Guerre en 1889. Vol. I. Paris: H. Launette et Cie., G. Boudet successeur, 1890. p. 37, ill.

Dean, Bashford. Handbook of Arms and Armor: European and Oriental, Including the William H. Riggs Collection, the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: Gilliss Press, January 1915. p. 71, pl. 33, middle right.

Dean, Bashford, and Robert T. Nichol. Handbook of Arms and Armor, European and Oriental, edited by Stephen V. Grancsay. 4th ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, October 1930. p. 133, fig. 86.

Grancsay, Stephen V., D. Graeme Keith, and Dr. Charles Avery. The Triumph of Humanism: A Visual Survey of the Decorative Arts of the Renaissance. San Francisco: Legion of Honor, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 1977. Cat. no. 108, pp. 45, 86.

La Rocca, Donald J. How to Read European Armor. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2017. p. 47, fig. 55.

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