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Armor for Heavy Calvary (Cuirassier)

A work made of steel and leather.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of steel and leather.


about 1610


Italian; Milan

About this artwork

This harness represents one of the last vestiges of fully armored cavalry, known as cuirassiers, trained to charge the enemy with a lance. By the 17th century firearms dominated the battlefield. In response to this development, the armorer of this piece made the breastplate and helmet thicker to resist the impact of musket fire. The dent on the breastplate, visible under the right arm, is a “proof mark” made when the armorer fired a musket at the piece to guarantee to his client that the armor was indeed shot-proof. Remarkably, the small size and girth of this armor suggest that it was made for a teenage boy for use either in training or in actual war, perhaps to accompany his father on a military campaign.


On View, Gallery 239


Applied Arts of Europe


Armor for Heavy Calvary (Cuirassier)


Milan (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1605–1615


Steel and leather


H.: 127 cm (50 in.)

Credit Line

George F. Harding Collection

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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