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The Art of Chivalry: European Arms and Armor from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Art of Chivalry: European Arms and Armor from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Nickel, Helmut, Stuart W. Pyhrr, and Leonid Tarassuk
179 pages
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Numbering almost fourteen thousand objects and spanning the thirteenth through the early nineteenth centuries, the Arms and Armor collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the largest in the Western Hemisphere and one of the most encyclopedic of its kind in the world.

Finely designed and decorated arms and armor were always rare, and the majority of existing pieces are preserved in the great ancestral collections of Europe. Since there are very few public collections of armor in this country, this exhibition will provide a unique opportunity for the national museum visitor to see a selection of exceptional quality and diversity illustrating the broad history of the subject. The objects have been selected not only for their artistic merit but also to present their important function in almost every aspect of chivalric and courtly life during the medieval and later periods. Such objects were used in wars, tournaments, parades, and the hunt. Designed to protect the wearer, they also combined comfort and balance with graceful appearance. From the thirteenth century on, armor and weapons became the objects of elaborate and colorful decoration, and artists of talent and reputation devoted themselves to their design and execution.

This exhibition, organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The American Federation of Arts, continues a recently initiated joint program of traveling exhibitions intended to share the vast artistic resources of this great museum with other institutions across the country.

Box with Romance Scenes, Elephant ivory, French
ca. 1310–30
St. George, Master IAM of Zwolle  Netherlandish, Engraving
ca. 1480–90
Quatrefoil Roundel with Arms and Secular Scenes, Pot-metal glass, white glass, vitreous paint, and silver stain, German
The Knight and the Lady, Master ES  German, Engraving
mid-15th century
Barbute, Steel, Italian, Milan
Italian, Milan
ca. 1460
Studiolo from the Ducal Palace in Gubbio, Francesco di Giorgio Martini  Italian, Walnut, beech, rosewood, oak and fruitwoods in walnut base, Italian, Gubbio
Multiple artists/makers
ca. 1478–82
Mitten Gauntlet, Missaglia workshop  Italian, Steel, Italian, Milan
late 15th century
Sallet alla Veneziana, Steel, copper alloy, gold, velvet, Italian
ca. 1470; gilt mounts, probably added early 16th century
Sallet, Adrian Treytz the Elder  Austrian, Steel, Austrian, Innsbruck
ca. 1480
Breastplate, Steel, German
ca. 1480
Left Gauntlet, Steel, probably Austrian, Innsbruck
probably Austrian, Innsbruck
ca. 1485–95
Armet, Steel, Italian
ca. 1490
Tournament Helm, Steel, copper alloy, Anglo-Flemish
ca. 1510–20
Elements of an Italian Light-Cavalry Armor <i>alla Tedesca</i> (in the German Fashion), Steel, gold, copper alloy, leather, Italian, Milan
Italian, Milan
ca. 1510
Field Armor, Steel, leather, German, Nuremberg
German, Nuremberg
ca. 1525; left arm defense, 19th century; rondels, 1923
ca. 1530
Fist Shield, Steel, Italian
16th century
Burgonet, Desiderius Helmschmid  German, Steel, German, Augsburg
ca. 1550–55
Gauntlet for the Right Hand, Steel, gold, Italian, Milan
Italian, Milan
ca. 1550–60
Embossed Shield, Wood, leather, Italian
ca. 1560
Showing 20 of 118

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Nickel, Helmut, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Seattle Art Museum, eds. 1982. The Art of Chivalry: European Arms Und Armor from The Metropolitan Museum of Art; an Exhibition; [Museums Participating in the Tour: Seattle Art Museum ... The Detroit Institute of Arts; Circulated March, 1982 - May, 1984]. AFA Exhibition 81–03. New York, N.Y.