Armor of Giovanni Battista Bourbon del Monte (1541–1614)

Italian, possibly Brescia

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.

Armor of Giovanni Battista Bourbon del Monte (1541–1614), Steel, gold, textile, leather, Italian, possibly Brescia

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