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Gorget (neck defense) and Cuirass (torso defense), for use in the field

Artist/maker unknown, Northern Italian

Made in Milan, Italy, Europe

c. 1510

Etched and partially blackened steel; leather (replaced)

20 7/8 x 13 1/16 x 11 13/16 inches (53 x 33.2 x 30 cm) Waist (circumference): 33 7/16 inches (85 cm) Weight (without lance-rest): 14.4 lb. (6540g)

Curatorial Department:
European Decorative Arts and Sculpture

* Gallery 246, Arms and Armor, second floor (Kretzschmar von Kienbusch Galleries)

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Bequest of Carl Otto Kretzschmar von Kienbusch, 1977

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The breastplate of this armor is decorated with the etched figures of Saint Anthony, the Virgin and Child, and Saint Bernard.

Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections

    Despite its incomplete state, this armor is a significant example of finely made Italian cavalry armor alla tedesca--"in the German fashion"--that is highlighted by distinctive and delicate etched decoration. Milanese armorers had long produced armor in the style of other regions for sale abroad but it was not until the late fifteenth century that they regularly incorporated German fashions into armors not intended for export. While in form this armor is modeled after a type introduced by the German infantry and light cavalry who had campaigned in Italy during the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries the etched decoration is purely Italian. The outstanding features are the classically inspired friezes of the Virgin and Child as well as saints at the top of the breastplate and backplate; beneath the breastplate frieze is a biblical quotation (in Latin)--"A bone of him shall not be broken" (John 19:36). These religious images and words not only served to ornament the armor but also offered the wearer the hope of protection through divine intercession. Donald J. LaRocca, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 119.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.