Half Armor and Targe for Service on Foot

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Master of the sign of the cuirass with the letters "IPF"
Italian, Milan, active 1600

Half Armor and Targe for Service on Foot, c. 1600

Steel with gilding, brass, and leather, etched and gilded
H. (armor): 86.4 cm (34 in.)
Diam. (targe): 54.2 cm (21 5/16 in.)
George F. Harding Collection, 1982.2194a-m

This is an unusually fine armor with matching targe (shield) for an infantry officer. On the breastplate and pauldrons of this ceremonial parade armor, the etched bands are embellished with interlace, trophies, fabulous beasts, and etched medallions that enclose classical figures reminiscent of Roman heroes. The etched radiating bands retain their original gilded surface, which contrasts effectively with adjacent areas left blackened in the forging process. Armor could be worn with costume accessories to provide a look of great ostentation, which was of paramount importance for public spectacles such as tournaments or parades. Indeed, much of armor’s design and decoration was directly influenced by civilian costume. The breastplate and tassets (steel plates attached to the breastplate) of this half armor, for example, follow the lines of the garments over which they would have been worn. This elegant armor also features an open-faced helmet with a beak and long cheek flaps, and a steel shield.

— 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.

On exhibition Harding Museum, Nov, 28, 1975.

Loan Exhibition of European Arms and Armor, Metropolitan Museum, 8/3 to 9/27/31, No. 16.

Publication History

Walter Karchieski, "Arms and Armor in the Art Institute of Chicago" (Art Institute of Chicago/Little, Brown, and Company, 1995), p. 76 (ill.)

Ownership History

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