Northern German, possibly Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 371

This is one of a group of finely etched armors made for the court of Duke Julius of Brunswick-Wölfenbüttel (1528–1589). The armors are decorated similarly with satyrs, allegorical figures, and grotesques, many of which are derived from prints by Cornelis Bos and Virgil Solis. The group is distinguished further, as is the armor displayed here, by the device on the breast: a quatrefoil above a crowned heart, which is flanked by two pairs of clasped hands and the initials HI (Herzog Iulius, meaning “Duke Julius” or “Heinrich Julius”). The scene depicted in the quatrefoil is the Old Testament story of Daniel in the lions’ den. Around the border runs an inscription that reads in translation, “Oh God, protect no more than my life, soul, property, and honor.” It is thought that this group of armors was commissioned about 1563, to commemorate the reconciliation of Julius and his father, Duke Heinrich (died 1568), and the reinstatement of Julius to the ducal succession.

Armor, Steel, leather, Northern German, possibly Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel

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