Milan, 17th century
Material: Wrought iron
Size: 180 cm high
Review by Gherardo Turchi
This ancient wrought iron soldier armour consists of a close helmet, two plate flanchcards, a breastplate, a backplate, two rerebraces, two vanbraces, two gauntlets, two couters and two poleyns.
The helmet has a forward plate with some vertical openings resulting from a few wrought iron segments, whose grooves and edges are well defined. By analysing the whole armour and the way the iron is made of was forged, we can assume it was realised by one of Milan most thriving workshops during the XVII century.
In that period the main ways to set up an armour changed completely. Since firearms were widely spread, it was necessary to get the armours thicker to provide the body against the shots from guns and arquebuses. The strenght of the armours was often tested out by the craftsmen themselves before selling them. Even today some models show the traces of those “trials”. Then, although it was unbelievable in the previous times, some armoured soldiers appeared on European battlefields.
During the XVI century Milan craftsmen had a huge popularity because of the armours they realised and their long standing experience. By properly using forges and bellows they were able to set up several armours, even for some important foreign generals and noble families as they were well known abroad too.
As they were unanimously said to be realised by some craftsmen in Milan, we can compare the armours at the Armeria Reale in Turin as well as those at the Metropolitan Museum in New York with the one we were asked to analyse.
For further informations, please see G. TURCHI, Regina Belli, Tipografia Etrusca edizioni, 2017, p. 55.