Italian Master Armorer
Northern Italy, last quarter of the XVIth century- first quarter of the XVIIth century
Material: Forged iron
Size: 32 x 32 x 23 cm
review by gherardo turchi
This work is an ancient knight 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 century.
The art of forging was a peculiarity of a few 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 is 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 end of the sixteenth century and the beginning of the seventeenth, in those workshops active in northern Italy, usually subdued to the local nobility or, more presumably, to the ecclesiastical authority, so powerful in that area at the time.
Comparing it with a similar helmet kept in the museum of arms Luigi Marzoli in Brescia, we can prove the date and geographical location of its production. The helmet in the museum dates back between the end of the sixteenth century and the first decade of the following one and is attributed to the Milanese production of defensive suits.
Another example is a pretty similar helmet kept in the museum Bagatti Valsecchi in Milan, where it was by a mistake put on infantry armor and not on knight armor.
With a lightly shaped crest on the skull, it has a closed ventail with vertical grooves surmounted by a particularly protrusive visor. Its iron throat is decorated on the lower part with a ribbed motif made through a carving, which is repeated on the top of the ventail, at the height of the eyes cavity.
The ventail and the skull unhooking and opening mechanisms are original and functioning.
This helmet is in a good state of conservation and represents a great addition to the catalog of defensive suits made in Northern Italy between the end of the sixteenth century and the first years of the following one