About this artwork
The design of this armor follows an eastern European fashion for lighter-equipped cavalry. Its considerable thickness and weight (about 25 pounds) were meant to protect the wearer’s vitals from the deadly threat of firearms.
This armor, however, did not belong to any ordinary cavalryman, but to Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II. Ferdinand ruled during the turmoil of the Thirty Years’ War (1618–48), which devastated much of central Europe. Asserting the authority of the Habsburg dynasty, the etched and gilt decoration on the breastplate depicts two of the emperor’s great forebears, Maximilian I on the right and Charles V on the left.
- Zischägge (Helmet) and Cuirass of Emperor Ferdinand II
- Southern Germany
- steel, gilding, brass, and leather
- Helmet H. 41.7 cm (16 3/8 in.) Cuirass H. 43.8 cm (17 1/4 in.)
- George F. Harding Collection