This helmet is the earliest surviving example of Renaissance armor all'antica (in the antique style). The lion's head is an outer shell made of embossed and gilt copper that is fitted over an underlying plain steel helmet. It represents the head of the Nemean Lion, whose pelt was worn as a headdress and cloak by the mythological hero Hercules. He was frequently portrayed in Renaissance art as a symbol of indomitable strength, courage, and perseverance.
Dimensions:H. 11 3/4 in. (29.8 cm); W. 8 1/4 in. (21 cm); D. 12 1/2 in. (31.8 cm); Wt. 7 lb. 14 oz. (3574 g)
Credit Line:Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1923
[Thomas Gwennap, London, 1816–33]; A. C. Lafontaine, England (until 1914; sold to Böhler); [Julius Böhler, Munich, 1914; sold to Germanisches Nationalmuseum]; Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg (1914–22; sold to a private collector); private collection, Holland (1922–23; sold through Julius Goldshmidt to MMA).
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Hunter Edward. "A Technical Examination of the Lion Helmet." Metropolitan Museum Studies in Art, Science, and Technology (2014), pp. 189–96, figs. 1, 3–5, 7–9, 13.
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Krause, Stefan. Iron Men: Mode in Stahl (Fashion in Steel). Köln: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, 2022. pp. 156–58, 191, no. 145, fig. 1 (figure caption records the incorrect accession number as 23.144).
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