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Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Shield for the Field or Tournament (Targe)

ca. 1450–1500
Wood, leather, linen, gesso, silver, polychromy, iron
19 1/4 x 15 1/4 x 4 3/4 in. (49 x 38.5 x 12 cm); Wt. 6 lb. 1 oz. (2737 g)
Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Florence Blumenthal, 1925
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 373
This unusual sturdy shield is distinctive for its convex profile, the raised ribs on its surface, and its decorative scalloped edges. Recently conserved, the brilliantly colored surface displays two campaigns of painting. The earlier decoration shows a vertically divided design: the dexter (shield’s right) side is painted red with vertically aligned letters AGVF, probably those of the shield’s owner, and the sinister (shield’s left) side has colored stripes. Painted over this design are two small shields with the arms of two Nuremberg patrician families, Ketzel (on a black ground, a silver monkey holding a gold ball) and Koler (on a red ground, a silver ring). These arms refer to Lucas Ketzel and Magdalena Koler, who married in 1467. The arms may have been added to the shield after Lucas’s death in 1485, when the shield would have been hung in a church or chapel as a memorial. Beneath the top two layers of painting is an earlier layer with different designs, evidence that this shield had a long working life.
[J. W. Böhler, Lucerne, by 1923–1925; sold through Bashford Dean to MMA, 1925]
Washington D.C. National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. "Love and War: A Manual for Life in the Late Middle Ages," November 8, 1998–January 31, 1999.

Katonah. Katonah Museum of Art. "Love and Courtship in the Middle Ages," October 2, 2005–January 1, 2006.

Angerer, Martin, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Germanisches Nationalmuseum. Nürnberg, 1300–1550: Kunst der Gotik und Renaissance. 1st ed. ed. Munich: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1986. pp. 201–3, no. 60d.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Germanisches Nationalmuseum. Gothic and Renaissance Art in Nuremberg, 1300–1550. 1st ed. ed. New york: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, May 1986. pp. 201–3, no. 60d.

Wallace Collection and A.V.B. Norman. European Arms and Armour Supplement. Wallace Collection Catalogues. London: Printed for the Trustees by Balding + Mansell, 1986. p. 93, (plate of a similar Behain Shield is featured).

Faltermeier, Christel, and Mr. Rudolf Meyer. Appendix: Notes on the Restoration of the Behaim Shields, Metropolitan Museum Journal, 30 (1995). pp. 53-60.

Nickel, Helmut. "new evidence." The seven shields of Behaim, Metropolitan Museum Journal, 30 (1995). pp. 29-51, ill.

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