PICRYL
PICRYL

The World's Largest Public Domain Source

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European Armor

The full suit of armor is a feature of the very end of the Middle Ages and of the Renaissance period. Plate armor is a type of personal body armor made from iron or steel plates. By about 1420, complete suits of plate armor had been developed in Europe. It commonly seen in the Western European armies especially during the Hundred Years War, the Wars of the Roses or the Italian Wars. European leaders in armoring techniques were northern Italians, Milan, and southern Germans.

A full suit of plate armour would have consisted of a helmet, a gorget (or bevor), spaulders, pauldrons with guardbraces to cover the armpits as was seen in French armour, or besagews (also known as rondels) which were mostly used in Gothic Armour, rerebraces, couters, vambraces, gauntlets, a cuirass (back and breastplate) with a fauld, tassets and a culet, a mail skirt, cuisses, poleyns, greaves, and sabatons. The very fullest sets, known as garnitures, more often made for jousting than war, included pieces of exchange, alternate pieces suiting different purposes, so that the suit could be configured for a range of different uses, for example fighting on foot or on a horse. The armor was articulated and covered a man's entire body completely from neck to toe.

Full suits of Gothic plate armor were worn on the battlefields of the Burgundian and Italian Wars. The most heavily armored troops were heavy cavalries, such as the gendarmes and early cuirassiers.

The specialized jousting armor associated with the medieval knights developed in the 16th century. Maximilian armor of the early 16th century is a style using heavy fluting and some decorative etching, as opposed to the plainer finish on 15th-century white armor. The shapes include influence from Italian styles. This era also saw the use of closed helms, as opposed to the 15th-century-style sallets and barbutes. During the early 16th century the helmet and neck guard design were reformed to produce the so-called Nürnberg armor, many of them masterpieces of workmanship and design.


As firearms became better and more common on the battlefield the utility of full armor gradually declined. After 1650, due to the development of the flintlock musket, which could penetrate armor from a considerable distance, plate armor was reduced to the simple breastplate (cuirass) worn by cuirassiers.

The decoration of fine armour greatly increased in the period. Such work required armorers to either collaborate with artists. Daniel Hopfer was an etcher of armour by training, who developed etching as a form of printmaking. Other artists such as Hans Holbein the Younger produced designs for armor. The Milanese armorer Filippo Negroli, from a leading dynasty of armorers, was the most famous modeller of figurative relief decoration on armor.
Helm for the Joust of Peace (Stechhelm)
1249
1249
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2016
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2016
317 Media in collectionpage 4 of 4
Armet

Armet

This helmet is one of the most complete and best-preserved examples of a distinctly English or Flemish armet.

Burgonet
Sallet

Sallet

The ventilation holes in the visor, forming an X-shape or saltire, allude to the Cross of St. Andrew, a Burgundian emblem that was adopted by the Habsburgs and used as an insignia by imperial German troops.

Portions of an Armor Garniture

Portions of an Armor Garniture

The elements of armor exhibited here represent parts parts of several closely related garnitures, the etched ornament of which can be attributed to the Augsburg etcher Jörg Sorg the Younger. Three similar armor... more

Helm for Foot Combat

Helm for Foot Combat

English armor of the early sixteenth century is extremely rare, and tournament armor even more so. This helm, also called a “great bascinet” in the sixteenth century, is one of only a few of its kind in existen... more

Armor

Armor

Kunz Lochner was one of the few Nuremberg armorers of the mid-sixteenth century to achieve an international reputation. His patrons included the Holy Roman Emperor, the dukes of Saxony, and the king of Poland. ... more

Great Sallet

Great Sallet

This helmet is part of a unique group of late medieval helmets and armor fragments that was discovered about 1840 in the ruins of a Venetian fortress at Chalcis, on the Greek island of Euboea. Founding curator ... more

Composed Armor for Man and Horse

Composed Armor for Man and Horse

Left reinforcing elbow stamped with marks belonging to the Missaglia workshop (Italian, Milan, recorded 1430–1529)

Belt Buckle

Belt Buckle

This object comes from the Vermand Treasure, the most richly appointed barbarian-warrior grave ever found. The grave was likely that of an auxiliary soldier stationed in the Roman province of Gaul. It also cont... more

Portions of an Armor Garniture for Field and Tournament Made for Duke Nikolaus "The Black" Radziwill (1515–1565), Duke of Nesvizh and Olyka, Prince of the Empire, Grand Chancellor and Marshal of Lithuania

Portions of an Armor Garniture for Field and Tournament Made for Duke ...

This crinet plate, along with the matching shaffron also in the Metropolitan Museum's collection (21.42), form part of an important garniture of armor for field and tournament use made for Nikolaus "the Black" ... more

Shaffron (Horse's Head Defense) Belonging to an Armor for Field and Tournament Made for Duke Nikolaus "The Black" Radziwill (1515–1565), Duke of Nesvizh and Olyka, Prince of the Empire, Grand Chancellor and Marshal of Lithuania

Shaffron (Horse's Head Defense) Belonging to an Armor for Field and To...

This shaffron is part of an important garniture of armor for field and tournament use made for Nikolaus "the Black" Radziwill (1515–1565), duke of Nesvizh and Olyka, prince of the empire, and grand chancellor a... more

Crinet

Crinet

This is a rare example of a late Gothic crinet preserved with its matching shaffron also in the Metropolitan Museum's collection (acc. no. 14.25.1661a). The combination of the shaffron's slender, pointed shape ... more

Left Pauldron (Shoulder Defense) Belonging to an Armor for Field and Tournament Made for Duke Nikolaus "The Black" Radziwill (1515–1565), Duke of Nesvizh and Olyka, Prince of the Empire, Grand Chancellor and Marshal of Lithuania

Left Pauldron (Shoulder Defense) Belonging to an Armor for Field and T...

Kunz Lochner (German, Nuremberg, 1510–1567) Nuremberg