Burgonet with Falling Buffe

Date: ca. 1550

Culture: French

Medium: Steel, gold

Dimensions: H. 14 in. (35.6 cm); W. 8 1/4 in. (21 cm); D. 14 1/4 in. (36.2 cm); Wt. 5 lb. 5 oz. (2404 g)

Classification: Helmets

Credit Line: burgonet: Rogers Fund, 1904; buffe: Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1922

Accession Number: 04.3.217; 22.140


The medallions on either side of the bowl are embossed with scenes from Greek mythology depicting the Battle of Centaurs and Lapiths, a popular subject in Renaissance art. The compositions derive in part from design by Rosso Fiorentino (1494–1540), one of the Italian artists called to Fontainebleau to work for the French court.

Probably made for Henry II of France (reigned 1547–59), the helmet passed as a diplomatic gift to the Medici court in Florence later in the sixteenth century. It is illustrated in a portrait of Cosimo II de' Medici (1590–1621), grand duke of Tuscany, in the Metropolitan Museum's collection (acc. no. 22.150).