Knight Helmet



Italian Master Armorer

Northern Italy, last quarter of the XVIth century

Material: Forged iron

Size: cm 37 high

review by gherardo turchi

This work is an ancient and rare knight helmet in forged iron, made in one of those flourishing workshops of master armorers active in Northern Italy during the last quarter of the sixteenth century.

The art of forging was a peculiarity of a few and great master armorers who, with love and dedication, combined their gift with the passion for ars belli, creating real works of admirable talent and sublime style. This helmet is an example of what above, presumably part of a larger defensive outfit, then dismantled or lost over the centuries.

A careful analysis of its realization and the metals used show that it dates back to the course of the third quarter of the sixteenth century, in those workshops active in northern Italy, usually subdued to the local nobility or, more presumably, to ecclesiastical power, so powerful in that area at the time.

This geographical attribution is due to some comparisons with helmets of the same importance and the exact unhooking and opening mechanisms, which are now in museums and private collections worldwide.

Examples very close to this work appear to be those at the Poldi Pezzoli museum in Milan, one published in the catalog of the armory I, Electa editrice, 1985, p. 259, plate 260 and the other one in “Italian arms and armors” by Lionello Boccia, Bramante publishing, 1961, plate 185.

With a creased crest and a sallet embellished with a stylized geometric pattern made through holes used as ventilation, this helmet has all the characteristics typical of the 16th-century defensive suits.

This helmet is in an excellent state of conservation, thus showing the special care and attention it got over the centuries, a determining element of the awareness of its rarity by the various owners who alternated over the centuries.

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