About this artwork
On the upper visor above the vision slits on this helmet, the Moscow coat of arms with an imperial double-headed eagle identifies the owner as Dmitry I, the ill-fated tsar of Russia who falsely claimed to be Ivan the Terrible’s lost youngest son. After only 11 months of rule, members of the Russian nobility (boyars) assassinated him and shot the ashes of his body out of a cannon.
Dmitry rose to power with Polish support and was heavily influenced by Western taste and politics. This Italian-made helmet (with matching breastplate and backplate, also in the Art Institute’s collection) represents the height of Western fashion at the time and might have been a diplomatic gift. Only traces remain of the original gilding that once highlighted the bands of etched decoration.
- Close Helmet from an Armor of Tsar Dmitry I
- Milan (Object made in)
- Steel, brass, and traces of gilding
- Approx: 31.8 × 23.5 × 29.2 cm (12 1/2 × 9 1/4 × 11 1/2 in.)
- Purchased with funds provided by John Edwardson; through prior acquisition of the George F. Harding Collection; purchased with funds provided by Paul Carbone; Laird Landmann Arms and Armor Fund; purchased with funds provided by Daniel Manoogian, purchased with funds provided by Michael Haney.