Description This triple-crested helmet and outer breastplate are from a splendid garniture made for Archduke Maximilian of Austria (1527-1576), son of Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I, and himself a future emperor. These pieces are for the field-the battlefield or the joust. Commissioned from the famous German armor maker Mattheus Frauenpreiss, this garniture exhibits the restrained magnificence appropriate to Maximilian's status. The reinforcing breastplate consists of two plates that overlap vertically to allow movement. Fitted over the normal breastplate, it provided extra protection in combat. The decoration, consisting of bands with animals and trophies, was etched and gilded by Jörg Sorg. Maximilian participated in the jousts organized on state occasions and was active in military campaigns. The inclusion of his armor in Archduke Ferdinand's Hall of Heroes (within his collection of arms and armor) evoked his valor. A nobleman in the circle of Archduke Albert-Maximilian's son, governor of the Southern Netherlands and himself a fine military commander-would treasure Maximilian's field armor as symbolic of Habsburg family honor as well as a work of art.
Provenance Emperor Maximilian II (1527-1576), 1549-1550, by commission; Vienna Waffensammlung, Vienna [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Cornelia (née Martin), Countess of Craven (1877-1961), Coomb Abbey [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Sale, Sotheby, London, December 3, 1964, lot 138; Walters Art Museum, 1964, by purchase.
Credit Museum purchase, 1964
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