About this artwork
By the early sixteenth century armorers had devised a system of interchangeable pieces, called a garniture, that could be converted between use for battle and tournaments. These four reinforcing pieces belonged to an elaborate garniture produced for a member of the Radziwill family, princes of Poland and Lithuania. Pieces of this garniture were dispersed from the Radziwill family armory at Nesvizh Castle around the turn of the twentieth century.
Portions of this armor in the Art Institute include: reinforces for the sport of the joust— the bevor that strengthens the helmet visor and plackart that strangthens the breastplate. Two plates used in the tourney, a mock battle that required more mobility than the joust—the wrapper to reinforce the lower helmet visor and the guard brace to strengthen the left shoulder. Additionally, there are four sets of pauldrons or shoulder defenses, two tassets or thigh defenses, and two complete leg harnesses that formed parts of this garniture. One leg bears the date 1573 in the etched decoration.
The helmet is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, while the breast and backplate are in the collection of the Museo Nazionale del Palazzo Venezia in Rome.
- Plackart from an Armor possibly of Prince Nikolaus VIII Christoph Radziwill of Poland (1549-1616)
- Steel with gilding
- H 61 cm (24 in.) Wt.: 4 lb.
- George F. Harding Collection