Apr 9, 2020



c. 1550

Steel with etched figure kneeling before Crucifixion

Overall: 31.3 x 35 x 20 cm (12 5/16 x 13 3/4 x 7 7/8 in.)

Weight: 1.84 kg (4.06 lbs.)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John L. Severance 1916.1647

Did you know?

Engraving is one of the oldest techniques for decorating metal objects; here the artist used a sharp instrument to scratch the design into the surface.


This breastplate, lacking its tassets, is nonetheless a fine example of the superb sculptural forms achieved by Renaissance armorers. Its contours and glancing surface illustrate the extremes sought by both armorers and patrons in order to deflect projectiles such as crossbow bolts and thrusting lances. Embellishment was an important aspect of fine armor. This breastplate bears a fine etched decoration of a kneeling knight, possibly the armor's owner, before the Crucifixion. This may have created a kind of personalized devotional image for use in combat.

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