Attributed to Kolman Helmschmid (German, 14711532)
Etched steel; 41 1/2 in. (105.4 cm)
Gift of Marshall Field, 1938 (38.143)
The decoration of this armor is an outstanding example of German figural etching, inspired by contemporary print sources, as it was used to embellish armor. The etching has been attributed to Daniel Hopfer (ca. 14701536), a noted printmaker and armor etcher. Hopfer may have pioneered the technique of making prints from an etched metal plate, which revolutionized printmaking in the sixteenth century.
The figures on the breastplate include the Virgin and Child flanked by Saint George and Saint Christopher. On the backplate, Saint Anne with the Virgin and Child is flanked by Saint James the Great and Saint Sebastian. The figure of Saint Sebastian pierced by arrows is copied from a woodcut made about 1507 by Hans Baldung Grien (1484/851545).