Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Armor of Giovanni Battista Bourbon del Monte (1541–1614)

Date:
ca. 1590
Geography:
possibly Brescia
Culture:
Italian, possibly Brescia
Medium:
Steel, gold, textile, leather
Dimensions:
Wt. of helmet 4 lb. 12 oz. (2155 g)
Classification:
Armor for Man-1/2 Armor
Credit Line:
Gift of William H. Riggs, 1913
Accession Number:
14.25.710a–f
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 371
Del Monte (1541–1614) was a mercenary soldier who at various times served the emperor, the pope, the kings of Spain and France, and the Venetian Republic. This armor dates from the period of del Monte’s service to Venice as captain-general of infantry. It probably was made in Brescia, an armor-making center then under Venetian control.
The armor is notable for its elegantly pointed helmet with a steel plume and for the etched and gilt decoration in imitation of a textile pattern. Overall decoration of this kind was especially fashionable in the period from 1590 to 1610.
A portrait of del Monte in the Museo Stibbert, Florence, shows this armor with its shoulder pieces, arms and gauntlets, now missing.
Two glaives bearing the del Monte coat of arms are also in the Metropolitan Museum's collection (acc. nos. 04.3.88, .89). Originally, they would have been carried by the captain-general’s personal guards.
William H. Riggs, Paris (until 1913; his gift to MMA).
Paris. Palais des Armées de Terre et de Mer. "Exposition Universelle Internationale de 1900," April 14–November 12, 1900 p. 25.

Paris. Musée Rétrospectif de la Classe 51: Armes de Chasse. "Musée Rétrospectif de la Classe 51: Armes de Chasse (Matériel, Procédés et Produits) à l'Exposition Universelle Internationale de 1900," April 14–November 12, 1900.

Detroit. The Detroit Institute of Arts. "Decorative Arts of the Italian Renaissance, 1400–1600," November 18, 1958–January 4, 1959.

Detroit. Detroit Institute of Arts. "Decorative Arts of the Italian Renaissance 1400–1600," November 18, 1958–January 4, 1959, no. 205 p. 90 (only 14.25.710A was part of the exhibition).

Orville, E. Notice sur les Armes et Armures Anciennes Figurant à l'Exposition Rétrospective Militaire. Paris: Berger-Levrault & Cie, 1900. p. 25.

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 (helmet only).

Detroit Institute of Arts and Paul L. Grigaut. Decorative Arts of the Italian Renaissance, 1400–1600: [exhibition] the Detroit Institute of Arts, November 18, 1958–January 4, 1959. Detroit: The Detroit Institute of Arts, 1958. p. 90, no. 205, ill. (helmet only).

Boccia, Lionello G., Fabio Rossi, and Marco Morin. Armi e Armature Lombarde. Milan: Electa, 1980. pl. 191.

Fumagalli, Elena, Massimiliano Rossi, and Riccardo Spinelli. L'Arme e gli Amori: La Poesia di Ariosto, Tasso e Guarini nell'arte Fiorentina del Seicento. Livorno: Sillabe, 2001. pp. 203–204, no. 72 (painting by Jacopo Vignali, "The Meeting of Angelica and Sacripante," ca. 1630, shows the helmet of this armor).

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