Lightly horse-riding helmet
Italian Master armorer
Northern Italy - 1600 1610
Material: Forged iron
Size: cm 30 high
review by gherardo turchi
This helmet is an ancient lightly horse-riding helmet in forged iron, made in one of those flourishing workshops of master armorers active in Northern Italy, probably in Milan, between the end of the sixteenth century and the beginning of the seventeenth.
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 this helmet dates back between the end of the sixteenth century and the beginning of the seventeenth, made in those workshops active in northern Italy, usually subdued to the local nobility or, more presumably, to ecclesiastical power, particularly strong in that area at the time.
An example very close to this work, albeit with evident and much more marked decorative differences, is the one part of a spear and foot fitting, formerly Colleoni, at the Poldi Pezzoli Museum in Milan, published in the Armory catalog II, Electa editrice, 1985, p. 177, plate 13.
With a hemispherical skull surmounted by a fine rib structure and a ribbed eave blade, the helmet features a beaver with a facial opening. The rib structure’s decorative element is repeated both along the edge of the facial door and running along the collar guard blade’s entire length.
It is in an excellent state of conservation and is a considerable addition to the catalog of defensive suits made in Northern Italy, straddling two centuries.