Armor of Emperor Ferdinand I (1503–1564)

Armorer Kunz Lochner German

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 371

The ownership of this armor by Ferdinand I (1503–1564) is indicated by the heraldic emblems on the toe caps: the imperial double-headed eagle surmounted by a royal crown, which signifies Ferdinand’s honorific status as king of the Romans and designated successor to his brother, Emperor Charles V. The image of the Virgin and Child on the breastplate was also used by Charles V on his own armors. The backplate is decorated with crossed staves and firesteels, the insignia of the Order of the Golden Fleece, an elite chivalric society of which Ferdinand was a member.

Kunz Lochner, Nuremberg’s most celebrated armorer of the period, made several armors for both Ferdinand and his son Archduke Maximilian (1527–1576), including two matching armors produced about 1546 that are very similar to the one exhibited here.

The helmet of the Museum’s armor was not made for it originally but has been associated with the armor since at least the early nineteenth century.

Armor of Emperor Ferdinand I (1503–1564), Kunz Lochner (German, Nuremberg, 1510–1567), Steel, brass, leather, German, Nuremberg

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