Drawn from Europe's only surviving Renaissance armory, the Landeszeughaus in Graz, Austria, this exhibition gathered nearly 300 outstanding examples of the armorer's craft, including many objects never seen outside Austria.
The Graz armory was founded to protect the region from Turkish expansion during the late Middle Ages. Its contents include not only ornate and highly finished works made for wealthy patrons but also large quantities of more purely functional armor to be used by town volunteers in the event of an attack. The armory houses some 30,000 pieces—enough to equip an army of 5,000.
The most illustrious patrons of this era were the Habsburgs, the ruling family of the Holy Roman Empire during the 16th century, whose sponsorship helped the armorer's craft reach its zenith. The exhibition presented these remarkable works in the broader context of paintings, graphics, and decorative arts of the period.