One of the best-preserved French armors dating from the reign of Henry IV (1589–1610), this example demonstrates the French preference for completely gilt armors. It retains its original yellow silk helmet lining and red leather straps sewn with metallic thread. Matching this armor are a shaffron (defense for the horse's head), also in the Metropolitan Museum's collection (acc. no. 27.177.2), and a saddle, now in the Musée de l'Armée, Paris. In spite of its rich decoration, this armor was intended for use in battle. It was made at a time when the lance had been abandoned by the heavily armored cavalry in favor of a pair of pistols kept in holsters at the front of the saddle. The presence of hand firearms on the battlefield led to the increasing weight of armors such as this and the gradual discarding of elements like the defenses for the lower legs.
This artwork is meant to be viewed from right to left. Scroll left to view more.
Use your arrow keys to navigate the tabs below, and your tab key to choose an item
Title:Armor for Heavy Cavalry
Medium:Steel, gold, leather, textile
Dimensions:H. 57 in. (144.8 cm); Wt. 77 lb. 2 oz. (34.98 kg)
Classification:Armor for Man-3/4 Armor
Credit Line:Rogers Fund, 1927
Zeughaus, Gießen, Hesse, Germany (by 1636–1811; transferred to the Darmstadt residence of Grand Duke Ludwig I); Ludwig I, Grand Duke of Hessen and bei Rhein, Darmstadt (1811–1820; transferred with the Grand Ducal collection to the Hessisches Landesmuseum); Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt (1820–1927; sold to Müller-Hickler); [Major Hans Müller-Hickler, Darmstadt, 1927; sold to MMA].
Seattle, Wash. Seattle Art Museum. "The Art of Chivalry: European Arms and Armor from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," March 11, 1982–June 6, 1982, no. 28.
Denver, Colo. Denver Art Museum. "The Art of Chivalry: European Arms and Armor from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," July 18–October 10, 1982, no. 28.
San Antonio, Tex. Witte Museum of the San Antonio Museum Association. "The Art of Chivalry: European Arms and Armor from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," November 13, 1982–February 5, 1983, no. 28.
Minneapolis, Minn. Minneapolis Institute of Arts. "The Art of Chivalry: European Arms and Armor from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," May 24–July 31, 1983, no. 28.
San Francisco. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. "The Art of Chivalry: European Arms and Armor from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," November 5, 1983–January 28, 1984, no. 28.
Detroit, Mich. Detroit Institute of Arts. "The Art of Chivalry: European Arms and Armor from The Metropolitan Museum of Art," April 4–June 17, 1984, no. 28.
Müller, Bernhard. "Die Rüstung Philipps des Grossmütigen." In Philipp Der Grossmütige: Beiträge Zur Geschichte Seines Lebens Und Seiner Zeit. Marburg: N.G. Elwert, 1904. pp. 155–60, ill.
Müller-Hickler, Hans. Führer durch die Kunst– und Historischen Sammlungen: Waffensaal. Darmstadt: Hessisches Landesmuseum, 1923. p. 5.
Dean, Bashford. "Recent Accessions in the Armor Department." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (January 1928), pp. 18–23, fig. 7.
Stöcklein, H. "Neuerwerbungen des Metropolitan Museums." Pantheon (1928), pp. 269, 274, ill.
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. 184, fig. 119.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Helmut Nickel, Stuart W. Pyhrr, Leonid Tarassuk, and American Federation of Arts. The Art of Chivalry: European Arms and Armor from the Metropolitan Museum of Art: An Exhibition. New York: The Federation, 1982. pp. 69–73, no. 28, ill.
Nickel, Helmut. "Arms and Armor from the Permanent Collection." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (Summer 1991), pp. 30, 64, ill.
Pyhrr, Stuart W. "Of Arms and Men: Arms and Armor at the Metropolitan, 1912–2012." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (Summer 2012), pp. 21–22, fig. 30.
The Met Collection API is where all makers, creators, researchers, and dreamers can connect to the most up-to-date data and public domain images for The Met collection. Open Access data and public domain images are available for unrestricted commercial and noncommercial use without permission or fee.
We continue to research and examine historical and cultural context for objects in The Met collection. If you have comments or questions about this object record, please complete and submit this form. The Museum looks forward to receiving your comments.