Half Armor for Foot Tourney at the Barriers

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Northern Italian, Milan

Half Armor for Foot Tourney at the Barriers, 1575/80

Steel with gilding, brass, leather, velvet weave, and lace
H. 96.5 cm (38 in.)
Wt: 38 lb. 13 oz.
George F. Harding Collection, 1982.2172a-o

In the 16th century, Italian armorers produced spectacular armor garnitures for noblemen, professional officers, and bodyguards in the service of princely courts. An armor garniture consisted of many matching, interchangeable pieces that could be added or removed from basic field armor to make it suitable for different occasions. Like jousting armor, this armor for foot tourneys at the barriers—a sporting event in which knights on foot approached each other on opposite sides of a barrier—is quite specialized. It includes a close helmet that locked onto and rotated on the gorget (collar) and asymmetrical pauldrons (shoulder defenses) that provided maneuverability and protection from thrusting across the barrier. The blemish on the helmet of this armor, just above the eye slit, is the result of a glancing blow. This armor, embellished with gilded radiating bands contrasted with steel bands, as well as the Three-Quarter Armor, belonged to the Spanish Marquesses de Dos Aguas.

— Permanent collection label

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

"Italian Armor for Princely Courts: Renaissance Armor from the Trupin Family Trust and the George F. Harding Collection" / AIC, 1986.

Publication History

Walter Karchieski, "Arms and Armor in the Art Institute of Chicago" (Art Institute of Chicago/Little, Brown, and Company, 1995), p. 47 (ill.)

Braden K. Frieder, Chivalry & the perfect prince : tournaments, art, and armor at the Spanish Habsburg court, (c. 2008, Kirksville, Mo),

Ownership History

George F. Harding, Jr. (died 1939), Chicago; bequeathed to the George F. Harding Museum, Chicago; transferred to the Art Institute, 1982.